MADRID - The superb run of form that has lifted humble Real Mallorca to fourth in La Liga faces a stiff test when Gregorio Manzano's side travel to the Bernabeu to face Real Madrid on Sunday.
The club's institutional and financial problems suggested they might struggle to stay in the top flight this term but the wily Manzano has coaxed eight home wins in eight matches out of his players to put Mallorca in Champions League contention.
However, the former Atletico Madrid coach, who led the Balearic Islanders to a King's Cup triumph in 2003 in a previous stint at the club, has warned his squad against resting on their laurels.
"We have to get down off this magnificent cloud and forget all this praise being flung at us from every side," Manzano said on Mallorca's website.
Second-placed Real squandered a chance to climb above arch-rivals Barcelona into top spot when they were held to a 0-0 draw at mid-table Osasuna last weekend and were clearly missing the creativity of injured playmaker Kaka. The Brazilian should be available on Sunday.
Undefeated leaders Barcelona, who were held 1-1 at home by Villarreal last weekend and have a two-point advantage over Real, will be without suspended striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic when they play at promoted Tenerife in another match on Sunday.
Third-placed Valencia play at bottom club Xerez on Sunday and Sevilla host Racing Santander tomorrow. - Reuters