Madrid's Euro hopes still alive, says goalkeeper Diego Lopez

MADRID (AFP) - Real Madrid goalkeeper Diego Lopez believes his side are still well-placed to progress in the Champions League despite only managing a 1-1 draw with Manchester United in the first leg.

Los Blancos also drew with Barcelona in the first-leg of their Spanish Cup semi-final and with their challenge to retain their league title all but over, Lopez remains confident they can still salvage some silverware from what has so far been a disappointing season.

"I think we are a great team. Now is the time to unite and I see the group very united," he told reporters on Saturday. The feeling straight after the (United) game wasn't the best, but then you analyse it and you think that it is not such a bad result because the tie is still very open.

"We are very confident and optimistic because we know we are capable of getting through in the Champions League and Copa del Rey."

Of more immediate concern to Jose Mourinho's men though is Sunday's clash with Rayo Vallecano and Lopez is wary of in-form Rayo's ability to spring a surprise.

"Rayo are a very dangerous team and very brave too. They beat Atletico Madrid last week and we will have to play a great game to win," he said.

Madrid will be without the injured Xabi Alonso and suspended Alvaro Arbeloa, Gonzalo Higuain and Luka Modric so Kaka is expected to be handed a rare start, whilst Pepe should also return after coming off the bench in the last two games.

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