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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 December, 2004, 11:07 GMT
Beckham expects Real to recover
Real Madrid's England captain David Beckham
Beckham was taken off at half-time against Seville
England captain David Beckham is confident Real Madrid will put their troubles behind them and return to winning ways in 2005.

Beckham's message comes amid claims he is seeking talks with Real's hierarchy after he was dropped in recent weeks.

He told Real's website: "If we can play to the level that we know we can then I am sure we can catch Barcelona.

"Nobody doubts that we have the team to do it because in this group there are the best players in the world."

Beckham was also taken off at half-time in the 1-0 home defeat against Seville.

Real can reduce the gap to 10 points if they beat Real Sociedad when the match that was abandoned two weeks ago because of a bomb scare at the Bernabeu is completed.

The score was 1-1 when the match was called off in the 88th minute and the remaining two minutes of normal time, plus four minutes of injury time, will be played on 5 January.

Real will have around six minutes to grab a winner in the rearranged game but the England captain knows from past experience that is more than enough time.

He explained: "It is definitely possible. When I was with Manchester United we won the European Cup in a three-minute spell.

"We were losing against Bayern Munich and scored two goals at the end of the game, so everything is possible."

After Real play Sociedad they then have a local derby with Atletico Madrid to contend with.

Beckham is under no illusions just how tough that game is likely to be.

"A derby is a very important encounter for everybody. In Manchester, in London, in Madrid...derbies are special. Atletico are a very well-known club and we want to beat them."

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