Real Madrid goes into the match with the balance in their favor after winning the first leg, but Khedira prefers not to think about it: “We’re going to have to start all over as if it were 0-0. We have to show the same aggressiveness to play well and win as we did on Sunday. The last match was for La Liga and this is for the Copa. It’s different and we have to go all out to try and win. We won the first leg 2-0 but it’s not a definitive result. We have to go for a goal there. We haven’t ceded any goals in our last few matches and that makes us stronger. We have to win the match and to do that we have to play on the offense”.
Speaking in Spanish, the German player spoke about Valencia’s virtues: “It will be a difficult match because Valencia is a great team. They’ve got a solid defense and good players on the offense. It’s important for us to win. We have to defend well and try to score. We want to move on to the next round”.
Karanka highlighted Khedira’s performance at the first leg’s post-match press conference: “I feel really good on this squad and I want to stress that. I think what [Karanka said] was really nice and it’s important for me to have the support of the coach and coaching team. I’m doing well, in top form just like the team, and we’re all happy. The most important thing for me is that the coach and coaching team are happy with me and my teammates. I’m surprised because lately I’ve been getting really positive feedback and the press is speaking highly of me. I always try to do my best for the good of the team and to play as well as I can. We’re all going to try to maintain this level and be consistent”.
Khedira commented on the team’s improvement and their objectives for the season: “When games are lost you have to do a lot of things better. You have to play more tightly and above all the defense has to make sure we don’t let so many goals in. There’s been an improvement there and in our offense as well, we’re pressuring well. When the forwards are playing as well as they have been it’s easier for the entire team and also for the defense. We’ve ceded points in La Liga but we’re going to try to do the best we can in the rest of the competitions. We also have the Champions and the Copa del Rey and we’re going to try to win them. We’re going to do everything we can to win every trophy. We have a lot of challenges ahead and we’re going to fight to win”.
When asked about the differences between Spanish and German referees, Khedira replied: “I don’t want to talk about the referees. I don’t want to talk about them, it’s not my place. We all make mistakes. There aren’t any huge differences between Germany and Spain. They have to make complicated decisions and there are really good referees here as well”.
Real Madrid has kicked off 2013 with an almost perfect record. The Whites’ midfielder gave his reasons for the squad’s improvement: “When you’re not getting the results you want you have to change things, and what we’ve done is be harder on ourselves. The bye week was good for recharging and for working hard both physically and tactically. The time off was a good opportunity to review and recover. We’ve tapped into our strengths. The strengths that Mourinho has taught us and those that we demonstrated last year. Maybe some of the players weren’t in top form but we’re doing well now, applying what we work on day-to-day with the coaching team. We’re playing together, helping each other out and giving all we have to play at our full potential.”
To conclude Khedira stressed that he’s not thinking about possible semifinal rivals: he’s fully focused on the upcoming match against Valencia: “We shouldn’t think about the next round yet. We have to focus on tomorrow’s match and it’s doesn’t matter if we’ll play against Barcelona or Malaga. We’re in a good place and I think we can win and move on. We’ll talk about it when we have our spot in the next round”.