Ronaldo Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid will be keen to make amends for the loss to BarcelonaReuters

The 2-1 defeat to Barcelona was difficult to swallow for Real Madrid. However, with La Liga matches coming thick and fast, the Spanish giants will have to put that El Clasico loss behind them as they prepare to host Sevilla on Wednesday.

Real Madrid currently find themselves nine points behind Barcelona, after the La Liga champions eased past Celta Vigo on Tuesday night. Nine points, in a league where the top sides drop so few points is a considerable advantage, and Real will know the importance of a win against Sevilla.

"We are very close to the way of playing that we're looking for," Real manager Carlo Ancelotti. "We didn't keep things going for the whole match against Barcelona and if we had played the second half like the first it would have been a great match for us. You have to play every minute at the same intensity.

"We are in good physical form and the aim of playing 90 minutes at a high intensity is closer because, physically, we can do it.

"[Sevilla] haven't lost in five league matches and are very well organised. We have to play with intensity from the first minute to the last. We have to try to do our best and keep improving our game."

Gareth Bale, included in the FIFA Ballon d'Or shortlist along with Cristiano Ronaldo, has copped much criticism after an underwhelming performance against Barcelona, but Ancelotti feels the Welshman will start to hit his stride the more he plays.

"In the match against Barcelona he could have changed positions with Di Maria. His natural position is on the right and that is where he will play," the Italian said. "I have only thought about the good criticism, not the bad. Only the constructive criticism."

Team News: Xabi Alonso is set for a return after a long layoff with Ancelotti confirming the midfielder is likely to be named on the bench. "He is available. He is training with the team and I think he might start on the bench tomorrow (Wednesday) and I'll try to give him some pitch time," Ancelotti said. "Whether he plays depends on confidence. He has the quality to help the team to play better. He has experience, passes well and has a good defensive attitude. He is a very important player for us."

Sevilla, who are comfortably perched in tenth with 13 points from ten games following a 2-1 victory over Osasuna at the weekend, will be without on-loan Chelsea midfielder Marko Marin, while Ivan Rakitic is expected to feature despite a few niggles.

Key men: Real Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo has a terrific record against Sevilla, having scored 11 goals in the last five matches between the two sides. Sevilla will be fearful of the Portuguese putting them to the sword on Wednesday.

Sevilla: Rakitic has the quality to hurt Real Madrid. After picking up a goal at the weekend, the Sevilla skipper will be hungry for more goals.

Where to watch

The game is scheduled for a 2.30 am IST start with live coverage on ESPN and ESPN HD. You can also catch the match live online by clicking the official link HERE.

Expected lineups: Real Madrid: Lopez; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao; Modric, Illarramendi, Isco, Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.

Sevilla: Beto; Diogo, Carrico, Pareja, Alberto; Samperio, Vitolo, M'Bia, Rakitic; Bacca, Gameiro.

Prediction: 4-1 to Real Madrid

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