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Ancelotti: “The match against Sevilla will pose risks if we aren't at our best”

NEWS | 03/02/2015 | Alberto Navarro

"The most important game is this one, not the derby; we can extend our lead over our rivals", he added.
Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media in the Ciudad Real Madrid press room on the eve of the Whites' La Liga match against Sevilla. The Italian coach analysed the postponed matchday 16 clash: "The match against Sevilla will pose risks if we aren't at our best. The most important game is tomorrow's, not the derby. We can extend our lead over our rivals and I'll field the best team possible. La Liga will be decided at the end, like it was last season. It's important to have a lead at this point, but it won't decide anything."

"Sevilla are a dangerous team because they have quality players and really compete. They're very well organised, with players who can play on the break and in tight spaces. They have different characteristics. They have a really good counter-attack with Bacca or Aspas, but they can also take care of the ball. They attack in numbers and look to press up front. It's going to be a great fight for fourth place, between Sevilla, Valencia, Villarreal and maybe Málaga. It'll be a fight right to the end." 

Playing system
"It isn't so complicated. We try to defend with two banks of four and two forwards, and attack with three forwards. One of the forwards drops in to make the bank of four. That's what we did against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey, against Bayern and in the Champions League final. Sometimes we defend in a 4-3-3 if the opponents' full-backs don't push up much. Talking about a bank of four in the midfield doesn't mean playing with four central midfielders. Bale or James can be in that bank."

"I don't have a lot of players with the characteristics of central midfielders. It depends on the characteristics of the players. If I put in four central midfielders we're more compact defensively, but we have less attacking quality. The job and the idea of play is the same, whether Illarra or Isco plays close to Kroos. They are different player characteristics, but what they have to do is the same. One helps more on a defensive level and the other in terms of building the play."

Praise for Bale
"He's giving everything to help the team. Last year he did well, and he's scored in all the finals we've played. He's having a fantastic season and we're calm because he's doing very well for the team. I don't think he heard the whistles in the match against Real Sociedad. He put in nice pieces of play which the crowd liked." 

Bale is playing very well and is in top shape. I hope he carries on like this.

"He prefers playing on the right, because he has more chances to shoot on goal than if he plays on the left wing. He can play in every position up front. If he, Cristiano Ronaldo and Benzema are fit, they'll always play. There's no doubt about that."

Early goals conceded
"It isn't a problem with the work we do, but with our initial mindset and improving our concentration at the beginning. We have to understand that and tomorrow we'll start differently to the last three games. Even if we have reacted well afterwards, it's better to start with concentration."

James and Marcelo one booking from suspension
"The team will be more or less unchanged from the game against Real Sociedad. Coentrão isn't available because he has a small problem in his tendon and he won't be in the squad tomorrow. Neither will Pepe or Cristiano Ronaldo. Lucas Silva will be on the bench in case we need him to play."

"He stayed because we signed him because we need him. I don't need to talk to him. He has spoken to me and told me that he's happy and ready to play. He has shown a high level of professionalism and I appreciate that."

"It isn't a strain on him playing at the Bernabéu. Last year he had problems adapting, but now he is fine. At the beginning against Real Sociedad he didn't settle, but then everyone improved."

The electro-stimulation jacket used by Benzema for training
"It's something that we know he does once a week, but we have to look into this system further before knowing whether the rest of the players will use it."