Alvaro Arbeloa has claimed it is in Real Madrid's DNA to fight until the end

Last Updated: 30/11/12 1:57pm

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Alvaro Arbeloa (r): Won't give up in title fight

Alvaro Arbeloa (r): Won't give up in title fight

Sky Bet

Alvaro Arbeloa has claimed it is in Real Madrid's DNA to fight until the end as they prepare to face city rivals Atletico on Saturday.

The first Madrid derby of the season comes at an unwelcome time for third-placed Real, who slipped 11 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona following last week's defeat at Real Betis.

A second successive loss would surely end all hopes of back-to-back league crowns and although many are already doubting Real's challenge, Arbeloa is convinced that his side can upset the odds.

"I think that if anyone's capable of turning a situation like this around, if anyone's capable of pulling together and fighting on, it's Real Madrid," the full-back told the club's official website.

"It's something that's in our DNA, in the DNA of this shirt, of this club, fighting to the end and achieving the impossible."

Added to their woes is the fact that neighbours Atletico are riding high in second place - eight points clear of Real - with star striker Radamel Falcao stealing all the headlines.

Defeat on Saturday night would be unthinkable for Jose Mourinho's men yet they can take heart from their tremendous record against one of their biggest rivals.

Atletico have suffered six consecutive defeats - beaten 4-1 both home and away last season - and you have to go back to the 1999-2000 season for their last victory over Real.

Yet Arbeloa is taking nothing for granted and thinks the appointment of Diego Simeone, who took charge last December, has transformed Los Rojiblancos' fortunes.

"You only have to look at the table and especially see how they're playing to realise this. Since Simeone arrived I think that they've changed completely and nowadays they are one of the best teams in Europe," added the former Liverpool defender.

Falcao has stated his fierce determination to end the hoodoo against Real.

"Players always go out on the pitch with the intention to win. I will never settle for a draw in advance. I can be satisfied with a point depending on how the match goes, but we are always aiming for victory once we get out there," the Colombian told AS.

Last Saturday's setback at Betis was Real's third loss in seven league matches, meaning they have now dropped one less point than for the whole of last season, to leave them in the unusual position of trailing their city rivals ahead of a derby.

Mourinho, who was booed by sections of the Bernabeu crowd during their Copa del Rey win over third tier Alcoyano, will once again be without Michael Essien, Marcelo, Gonzalo Higuain and Raul Albiol due to injury.

Atletico have just one worry with Uruguay midfielder Cristian Rodriguez a major doubt after suffering a hamstring injury in the midweek Copa del Rey clash against Jaen.

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