25 August 2013
Real Madrid face Granada in the Los Cármenes stadium in the second match of the league and Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media in the press room the day before the match. The Italian coach analysed the game and appeared confident. “The team is in good shape. We want to play better, because we didn’t play too well in the first match and we struggled to win. This time we want a more decisive win. We know Granada are a good team. They beat Real Madrid at home last season and we have to be careful in our first away game. We need the three points and the team is focused on playing well. We watched the first Granada game and they played very well. They were quick, well organised both in defence and in offence and I think it will be a tough match. We’re confident we’ll have a good game and set out to win”, assured the coach.
The squad is extensive and there are plenty of reserve players and, when asked about the midfield he would use against the Andalusian side he said, “Illaramendi is recovering well and he will start training with the squad next week. I don’t think he will be available for the match against Athletic but he will be ready when the league restarts after the international matches. We have a problem with Khedira but we can solve it either with Casemiro or with Isco playing closer to Modric”.
When asked about the position Cristiano would play and about Karim playing as a forward, he said, “I think, as I have said before, that Cristiano can play either on the wing or in the centre... but this doesn’t change anything for Karim. The two of them make a good combination and there’s no problem with them playing together. Karim is a player who likes to move and he doesn’t have a fixed position on the field”. About Özil, he said, “In the friendly against Betis he began defensively on the right and when he has the ball he needs to be in the centre. The team needs Özil and they need him to feel comfortable. He doesn’t have any problem”.
Real Madrid have two top goalkeepers, Iker Casillas and Diego López, and the coach was clear on this point, “The club is very lucky to have two fantastic keepers and I have to make the decisions. It’s normal for me to make this kind of decision and gauge the reaction. I’m not going to say who the keeper will be tomorrow. There has been a lot of talk going around and I would prefer to talk to both players first, then I’ll make a decision, but it won’t be definitive”.
When talking about Diego López warming up before half time in the Santiago Bernabéu Trophy match, Ancelotti wanted to be clear, “In football, the goalkeeper needs to warm up more than other players. Diego started warming up five minutes beforehand so he would be ready to warm up in the goal mouth during the break. That was the reason. There was no lack of respect. Goalkeepers need to warm up more than other players”.
When asked about the crowd’s reaction during the trophy match, he said, “It was a little unpleasant for me because I know the Real Madrid fans well. It’s important to know that I make decisions so that the team wins and, above all, it’s important to understand that it’s not Iker or Diego who is playing, it’s the Real Madrid goalkeeper. It’s not Kaká or Benzema who is playing, it’s a Real Madrid player. The coach can always make mistakes, but I try to make decisions for the team and for the club. I’ve played against Madrid many times and it’s not easy to be the opposition because the atmosphere is very charged. The supporters are very important to all of us. The Santiago Bernabéu stadium is our home ground and we have to feel welcome there. I’m sure there the fans will be behind us for the next game”.
On this point, the Italian coach wanted to add, “I think that if the team plays badly, the crowd has to whistle. That’s the way it is anywhere in the world. For that reason I don’t ask for anything. All I ask, and I think this is very important, is for support, that the whole crowd is behind the team. In the end of the day, if you play a bad game, it’s normal that the crowd whistle”.
The transfer market is still open and, when asked about Tottenham player Gareth Bale, Ancelotti claimed, “I have other problems at the moment. I understand the interest, but I can’t say anything because at this moment he is not a Real Madrid player, so I can’t answer your question. I know the market is very busy because it closes very soon, but he is not part of the Real Madrid team”.
To round up, the coach answered a question about the Barcelona coach. “I don’t understand what he said. Tata Martino hasn’t been here that long and he doesn’t understand how European football works yet, or how his club works. Barcelona have signed key players and played a lot of money for them. I don’t want to talk about it. What he said was very strange”.