Carlo Ancelotti

Ancelotti: "We have to be on our guard, Rayo fight hard and play attacking football"

NEWS | 07/11/2014 | Alberto Navarro | PHOTOGRAPHER: Víctor Carretero

“We're up against a team that has its own style and is a prime example for explaining what Spanish football is like abroad."
Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media in the Ciudad Real Madrid press room on the eve of Real Madrid's La Liga clash with Rayo. The Italian coach looked ahead to Saturday's encounter at the Santiago Bernabéu: "We have to be on our guard because Rayo fight hard and play attacking football. We know that they play with intensity. We have to be ready and it concerns me that everyone is talking us up. We have to be focused on the game."

“We have to respect a team who have a philosophy and apply that philosophy against every team. They have a style, and to explain what Spanish football is like abroad Rayo Vallecano are a prime example. They play football against every team and fight for survival. They have a very clear plan to play attacking football and it's a good plan and a positive one."

Possible tension with Paco Jémez
“I've never felt any tension. The issue was closed a long while ago. I have respect for this coach and it will be a normal game. What was said a month ago has nothing to do with this game and the issue is closed. We both have a clear idea of how to make the most of the characteristics of the players we have, and we try to implement the same game in every match."

Rotating players against Rayo
“I still haven't decided. Isco and James have been fantastic and it's possible I'll give one of the two a rest in order to put in a player with fresh legs. Rotation is normal at this point of the season and we have to do it at least until December."

I wouldn't swap this squad for any other in the world.

“I know that I'm lucky enough to coach a team that has unbelievable quality and I try to make the most of it through the work I do. I'm concerned that there is too much praise. That means that when things don't go well there will be too much criticism. This team deserves the praise it has got for what it has done, and we have to keep on working to continue this run. We'll have difficult moments and we have to show the same sense of calm and fighting spirit that we're showing at the moment."

Jesé's progress
“Today he began a new phase in his recovery, which is working with the group. Little by little he will do technical work, in the first week it'll be without contact and afterwards with it. It's the final phase of his recovery. We're not in a hurry and we expect him to be ready to play in a month."

Khedira's recovery
“He's in pretty good shape and is almost completely recovered. He didn't have a serious problem. He isn't available for tomorrow. He will join up with his national team and I think he's going to play with them. He has a friendly against Spain and it's beneficial for him to get playing time with his country."

Benzema's current form
“He's in good shape. He feels comfortable. He feels important to this team and that's the key to the way he's playing at the moment. He's a player who is a very important part of our game."

Cristiano Ronaldo as Di Stéfano's worthy successor
“I think so. Cristiano Ronaldo has that image. Placing him close to Di Stéfano, with everything that he meant to this club, is a very good source of motivation for the future. He deserves it."

His favourites for the Ballon d'Or
“The results speak for themselves in Cristiano Ronaldo's favour. The Germans won the World Cup, but other than them I don't see any other possible rivals to him."

The midfielders' strong progress
“The only thing I did was get them used to playing together to win back possession. The team is working hard and working together, and that helps the work of the midfielders. They're doing very well and are putting a lot of hard work in. Defensive work is an issue of hard work, not quality."

Isco's position
“I don't have plans to play him as a false nine. From time to time he can play as a central midfielder in place of Kroos or Modric. I'm thinking about playing him further back because he can do the defensive work he's doing on the flank as a central midfielder too."

Bale's defensive work
“I don't have to tell him to run. He knows what he has to do. I ask him to score, provide assists and do what he did last year. Putting in a shift isn't a problem for Bale and he plays on the right wing. The way the team plays doesn't change if he plays. James receives the ball more to feet and Bale to run on to, but the way the team plays doesn't change."