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Real Madrid to go all out

Madrid: Real Madrid will likely abandon their defensive strategy and go on the attack against Barcelona in the second leg of the Copa del Rey quarter finals on Wednesday.

Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has come under fire for his choice of tactics following last week’s 1-2 loss to Barcelona, with the Portuguese coach repeatedly jeered during a 4-1 Spanish league win over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

But that victory displayed the potent attack available to Madrid, who lead Barcelona by five points in the Spanish league after scoring 67 goals in 19 games to complete the first half of the season.

Still, Mourinho did not apologise for Madrid’s approach to the first leg, which has polarised much of the Portuguese coach’s support, not only among fans but also the usually staunch Madrid press. On Sunday, a newspaper reported divisions inside the club’s dressing room while Mourinho’s name was jeered throughout the Bilbao match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium for the first time since his arrival in 2010.

“They lead the league, they can still reach the semi-finals of the Copa and they are into the next round of the Champions League. From an outside perspective, it’s hard to read whether or not they have problems,” Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta said on Monday.

Madrid’s attack could get a boost if Argentina forward Angel di Maria returns from injury.

Mourinho is likely to field defender Pepe if he is fit despite the controversy over his alleged stamp on Lionel Messi’s hand in last week’s game.

The 28-year-old Pepe, who was left out of Sunday’s La Liga win at home to Athletic Bilbao, is available for the game after the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) decided on Monday to take no action against him.

Barca earlier decided not to report Pepe over the incident and said it was up to the soccer authorities to take the initiative. But they were upset that RFEF did not penalise the defender. Madrid have won only one of their last 13 meetings against Barca April’s Copa del Rey final with nine losses over that period. (Agencies)