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Solari hopes to complete Real audition with Celta Vigo victory
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  • 08 Nov 18
  • Soccer
  • 4
Soccer Football - Champions League - Group Stage - Group G - Viktoria Plzen v Real Madrid - Doosan Arena, Plzen, Czech Republic - November 7, 2018  Real Madrid interim coach Santiago Solari during the match   REUTERS/David W Cerny 691px 444px Soccer Football - Champions League - Group Stage - Group G - Viktoria Plzen v Real Madrid - Doosan Arena, Plzen, Czech Republic - November 7, 2018 Real Madrid interim coach Santiago Solari during the match REUTERS/David W Cerny

MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid interim coach Santiago Solari will be hoping to further boost his chances of securing the job on a full-time basis by successfully negotiating a tricky trip to Celta Vigo in La Liga on Sunday.

The visit to the Estadio Municipal de Balaídos represents the sternest test of Solari's brief reign so far, with the Argentine former midfielder having won all three games since taking over from the sacked Julen Lopetegui.

Real, sixth in the table and seven points behind leaders Barca, have struggled at the Galician side's intimidating stadium in the past, though, and could only muster a 2-2 draw at the venue last season.

Local media reports suggest a victory would complete an impressive audition for the role with a promotion, but Solari insists he is focussed on three points rather than his future.

"I'm just thinking about the next game despite everything," he told a news conference. "I can only look to the next link in the chain, and the most important game is always the next one. We are focussing all our efforts on this weekend's match.

"I know it's a cliché, but football is about the here and now, and it's not a bad philosophy to go by. We'll see after that."

Elsewhere on Sunday, table-toppers Barcelona host Real Betis as they look to maintain the pace in their title defence, but it remains to be seen whether the Catalans will have Lionel Messi back from injury for the match.

The forward fractured his arm last month and while he was not missed in their Clasico victory over Real, his absence was noted as the defending champions eked out a last-gasp win at lowly Rayo Vallecano last week.

Messi was included in the party that travelled to Milan for their midweek Champions League draw with Inter, but was omitted from the match-day squad as they secured a place in the last 16 of the competition.

"He is training, but it's not the same as playing in a top-level game with collisions and intensity, so we don't want to take any risks with him," coach Ernesto Valverde said.

"The objective is always the same and that's to get the three points," Valverde added. "We always want to retain possession and have control of the game. It's good because the side are showing their worth."

It is also shaping up to be an interesting weekend for the chasing pack, with only one point separating the sides from second to fifth place, starting on Saturday evening when fourth-placed Atletico host struggling Athletic Bilbao.

Fifth-placed Alaves then host bottom-of-the-table Huesca in Sunday's early kickoff, before third takes on second when Sevilla host Espanyol later on.

(Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli; Editing by John O'Brien)

2018 English PL Fixtures & Results

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2018/2019 Premier League
2018/2019 UEFA Champions League
2018/2019 UEFA Europa League
2018/2019 A-League
2018/2019 Ligue 1
2018/2019 Bundesliga
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2018/2019 Primeira Liga
2017/2018 Serie A
2018 World Cup
2018 English PL Standings

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  • Group
  • e
Pts P W D L GF GA +/- Pts
1 Manchester City MAC 98 38 32 2 4 95 23 +72 98
2 Liverpool LIV 97 38 30 7 1 89 22 +67 97
3 Chelsea CHE 72 38 21 9 8 63 39 +24 72
4 Tottenham Hotspur TOT 71 38 23 2 13 67 39 +28 71
5 Arsenal ARS 70 38 21 7 10 73 51 +22 70
6 Manchester United MUN 66 38 19 9 10 65 54 +11 66
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers WOL 57 38 16 9 13 47 46 +1 57
8 Everton EVE 54 38 15 9 14 54 46 +8 54
9 Leicester City LEI 52 38 15 7 16 51 48 +3 52
10 West Ham United WES 52 38 15 7 16 52 55 -3 52
11 Watford WAT 50 38 14 8 16 52 59 -7 50
12 Crystal Palace CRY 49 38 14 7 17 51 53 -2 49
13 Newcastle United NEW 45 38 12 9 17 42 48 -6 45
14 AFC Bournemouth BOU 45 38 13 6 19 56 70 -14 45
15 Burnley BUR 40 38 11 7 20 45 68 -23 40
16 Southampton SOU 39 38 9 12 17 45 65 -20 39
17 Brighton & Hove Albion BRI 36 38 9 9 20 35 60 -25 36
18 Cardiff City CAR 34 38 10 4 24 34 69 -35 34
19 Fulham FUL 26 38 7 5 26 34 81 -47 26
20 Huddersfield Town HUD 16 38 3 7 28 22 76 -54 16
*e1 & e2 advances to R16, e3 possible R16
2018/2019 Premier League
2018/2019 UEFA Champions League
2018/2019 UEFA Europa League
2018/2019 A-League
2018/2019 Ligue 1
2018/2019 Bundesliga
2018/2019 La Liga
2018/2019 Primeira Liga
2017/2018 Serie A
2018 World Cup
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