Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has described his side's Copa del Rey clash against Murcia as "the most important game in the season so far" because of the risk of Los Blancos' exiting the competition, which they have not won since 1993.
Mourinho has guided Real through a period of 15 matches without defeat this season and is determined to preserve that unbeaten record against Murcia.
But the former Inter Milan manager is fully aware of the dangers presented by cup matches, having seen Manuel Pellegrini's Real fall to an embarrassing exit to Segunda Division B minnows Alcocorn last season.
"Our match against Murcia is the most important game in the season so far because it is the only one that could make us lose a championship," Mourinho told the press at the Bernabeu ahead of the match.
"Losing one game in the Champions League is alright because there are five more to play. Losing one in La Liga is also okay because 37 remain. This match is even more decisive given the bad result we earned in the first leg.
"We will be eliminated if we lose and if we draw with the same number of goals. Our only option is to win the match; it is our duty to reach the next round. I don't think about the possibility of elimination. I believe two goals will be enough, but they aren't a great risk. Murcia have a spectacular defence.
"We need a more heated Bernabeu crowd. It's necessary. The players deserve a little more support and tomorrow could be a great chance for the fans to show this."
Despite stressing the importance of progress in the competition, Mourinho revealed that some of his fringe players will be given the opportunity to shine against Murcia, with the likes of Sergio Canales and Karim Benzema to be included in the starting line-up.
"The line-up will comprise Casillas, Arbeloa, Ramos, Albiol, Marcelo, Canales, Granero, Pedro Leon, Benzema and two others," Mourino said. "The Copa del Rey should have special significance for Spaniards. We want people to be excited about winning the title.
"Benzema is playing very well. He has a lot of class and he does what we want him to do. He will be a starter and we will need him to score. It will be a decisive game and we expect him to have a positive response to it. He will eventually become a [regular] starter on the team if he keps up the good work.
"Championships are won by squads, not by teams, but a top level football player can easily handle 50 games given today's recovery techniques and if he has a good life socially speaking. I'd also add that today's starters could be tomorrow's benched players.
"I have a united squad on which every player helps out, both on the pitch or on the bench. People discuss rotations a lot, but exhaustion is usually psychological more than it is physical. We play well, we win our games and we have a basic structure on this team, but the press regards our lack of rotations as something dramatic."