18 October 2013
Carlo Ancelotti appeared before the press the day before the Liga meeting against Malaga, the first following the break for internationals. The Italian coach, who confirmed that "Illarramendi, Khedira and Isco will start and Bale will play some minutes", analysed tomorrow's meeting in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, “I expect a good game from Real Madrid. I am sure we are going to improve in this match. The players now understand what went wrong in previous matches and I am sure that tomorrow will be different. They have to play better due to the individual quality the team has. We need to have more continuity as a team and improve defensively and in our speed of play. After the match against Levante we haven't trained with all the players, but I see the players as more focused. We are at an important moment in the season, which begins tomorrow, and we are ready to face this important week".
Asked about the physical condition of the players facing the match against Malaga following their international commitments, the Italian coach was clear: “Bale is available and we only have a problem with Varane, who will not be ready for tomorrow but perhaps for Wednesday". Benzema has a knock on the calf but he is in the squad, and tomorrow we will take the decision of whether to play him or not. Tomorrow I will give priority to those players who have not played internationals. Illara trained here and Khedira and Isco didn't play. The players have come back without any problems. The team is ready. We are facing an important week and we are focused in order to try and win the three matches against Malaga, Juventus and Barcelona".
Referring to a supposed lack of concentration in the team in previous matches, he was clear and highlighted the confidence he had in the team: “I am quite self-critical with my team. We haven't played well, but we have showed a lot of character and we have changed a lot of matches. We had a problem with our play, but we have character, personality and experience. For this reason I have confidence in the team".
Ancelotti also spoke about Bale and his physical status: “It is not true that he has a hernia. His problem is that he didn't play during the pre-season. In the last four years he has played over 100 matches and if he had a hernia he wouldn't have been able to do this. He has worked well during these 15 days and he is available. He is a player who is well prepared to play at this time". The white side coach also recognized that he had had three protrusions during his time as a footballer: "I have three disc protrusions and they never gave me problems during my career. It is a common problem for a player. Tomorrow I would like and I will try to give him some minutes. I have heard that I was crazy to play him against Villarreal, but he played his first match with the national side and at Villarreal he played with no problems. He has suffered from muscle strain and nothing more".
Regarding Varane and the reasons he is not available for tomorrow he said: “His knee is a little swollen. He didn't play the second match with his national side, and France was very careful with him. We have spoken to Deschamps and there is no problem. I am sure he will play on Wednesday. His injury was serious. He was out for four months and we have to be careful with him because he is young and an important player".
Regarding Casillas and his recent statements he said: “I have not spoken with him about this. He is a great goalkeeper and a great professional. He is behaving in a very serious and professional manner. He is a captain; what more can I say. I hope that he stays with us because he is an important player for the atmosphere of the squad. We have to speak to him because it is fair to know what is happening. He has said nothing to me and he seems calm. It is understandable that he wants to play".
When questioned about the performances of Benzema with France, in which he found the net, he assured: “For a forward it is important to score in order to improve confidence. He returned more comfortable and if he plays tomorrow he will do it well. He is an important player and we need our forwards to maintain their confidence. The youngsters are pressing to come through".
Marcelo and Khedira were two other names referred to by the Italian coach. “They have huge offensive ability but must improve defensively, just like the rest of the team. Our problem is not scoring goals, but letting them in. We all have to make more effort regarding this point. Marcelo helps the team a lot with finding positive offensive solutions", he said of the Brazilian. Regarding the German, he argued: “He is happy and has confidence. He can play in a lot of positions in midfield and he is very strong and powerful. This is important to us".
Regarding the recent statements from Schuster, the Malaga coach, in which he said that it was a good time to beat Real Madrid, Ancelotti was explicit: “I hope that tomorrow we will see a different Real Madrid”. Finally referring to the confidence Florentino Perez has in him, he said: “I have a very good relationship with him. We speak almost every day and he knows I am not happy because we can play better. I feel calm because every day he demonstrates his trust and serenity".