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Montanier: Sociedad can reach safety

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By David Redshaw

Friday 06 April 2012

Real Sociedad boss Philippe Montanier believes his players will achieve top-flight safety if they can win all their fixtures in the coming week.

In the space of eight days the Txuri-urdin face a home game with Real Betis sandwiched between visits to Espanyol and Málaga, nine points from which would see them reach the safety net of 45 points.

“If we succeed this week and win all our games we could then set our sights on something else,” Montanier told a Press conference, “although the first of these on Saturday at Cornella El-Prat is against a good Espanyol side.”

However, the Frenchman will go into the game with a defensive headache. Central defender Iñigo Martínez is out for the season, having suffered a knee injury in the 5-1 defeat at Real Madrid, and partner Mikel González is a doubt along with midfielder Asier Illaramendi. Hence, the Basques may have to field the untried pairing of Russian-born Norwegian international Vadim Demidov and Ion Ansotegi, the latter having started just one league game this season.

“We have been working together for 10 months and they are intelligent central defenders, so I don’t see any problems in them complementing each other,” said Montanier.

For Espanyol, Portuguese striker Rui Fonte and Uruguayan midfielder Juan Albín are struggling to be fit for the game, both having missed last week’s goalless draw with Villarreal at El Madrigal.

Nonetheless, the Catalans did receive some good cheer this week with the news that Brazilian defender Felipe Mattioni - still to make his debut for Los Periquitos - has resumed light training after a two-year absence. The 23-year-old was signed from Gremio in summer, 2010 after being on loan with Real Mallorca but sustained a cruciate ligament injury in his left knee, forcing him to miss the entire season. Shortly after recovery he suffered the same injury in his right leg and was ruled out for another six months.

“I feel good now,” said a relieved Mattioni on Thursday. “I am in the final phase of my recovery and am very excited because I trained with the rest of the group and had no bother from my knees.

“When I suffered the first injury I was warned I ran high risk of damaging the other knee and unfortunately that was what happened. But I came to Espanyol in the hope of playing and that is still my aim.

“As for this season we will have to see. I have to complete my entire recovery and then it will be up to the Coach to decide,” he added.

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