Zaragoza vs Almeria preview - Juanito won`t give up

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Posted Monday, April 25, 2011 by PA

Midfielder Juanito has not given up hope Almeria can still avoid the drop, although he admits it is going to be "difficult".

Roberto Olabe's side started the weekend propping up the Primera Division standings, four points behind second-bottom Hercules and seven adrift of 17th-placed Malaga and safety.

They are also seven points behind 18th-placed Real Zaragoza, their opponents on Monday night.

Juanito believes a minimum of 40 points is likely to be needed to stay up, which means Almeria will have to find 14 points from their final six games, and they include fixtures against top-six sides Real Madrid, Villarreal and Sevilla.

He said: "Being realistic, it's difficult. But it's still possible because there are enough points left. If we win on Monday we could move to within four points of safety and that would open up a range of possibilities for us to fight for survival.

"It's clear that time is running out, but the important thing is that we still have a chance and this motivates us to fight until the end. We are defending a shirt and a city and we need to give it everything."

In seven of the last nine seasons, 42 points has been enough to guarantee safety in the Primera Division, while last season Malaga avoided the drop with only 37 points.

Juanito, whose team have lost their last four matches, said in AS: "I think that around 40-42 points could be enough for survival. But it depends, Zaragoza have to go to the Bernabeu and there also also clashes between teams at the bottom, such as Malaga-Hercules, games where not every team are going to pick up points."

These are troubled times for Zaragoza as well, although they are in a much better position than Almeria.

Not only are Javier Aguirre's men within five points of seven teams above them, they only have to play one of the top seven (Madrid) in their final six games.

When asked how many points he believes his side need to stay up, Zaragoza midfielder Ander Herrera said: "I've no idea because all the teams at the bottom are picking up points. Hopefully 42 points will be enough because that's in our calculations, but if it's 45 we will get 45. I'm convinced that we are going to stay up however many points we need."

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