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Ancelotti: "The team is ready for El Clásico"

NEWS STORY. 23/10/2021

“There are no favourites in this kind of game, collective motivation and commitment are crucial", said the madridista coach.

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti appeared in an online press conference to discuss the first El Clásico clash of the season on LaLiga matchday ten (Sunday, 4:15pm CEST): “We know it's a special game for us, for Barcelona and for Spanish football, and we're preparing for it with that in mind. We'll try our best to focus on what might happen, devise a good strategy and give the players all the instructions they need to put on a good display".
"They are three big points. I have never won at the Camp Nou and I think it's a good time to do so. It won't be easy, but there are lots of points we must fight for if we want to win LaLiga. Last year's game is a reference for us. You have to assess two things to make decisions - what has gone well and your squad right now".

“No. It doesn't matter if a team comes into El Clásico in better form. Barcelona have performed well in their last two games. There are no favourites in these kinds of games, A whole range of things determine how the game goes, like motivation and collective commitment, which are vital. Talking about favourites is pointless for these kinds of games”.
Changes from the last game
“I have everything very clear in my mind. It doesn't seem right to discuss who will play tomorrow because I haven't spoken to the players yet. The team is ready and we're going to have Carvajal y Hazard back. We have a great squad, everyone is focused and motivated, even if they don't play from the start, because they understand how important it is to come on and do a good job. 

Vini Jr. and Ansu Fati
“They're both still very young. They have to show what they're capable of in their careers. This always comes down to the fact it's a clash between two teams who are always among the best in the world. The players change, Cristiano and Messi go and others come in. What never changes is that these two teams will always be fighting in every competition".

Valverde playing up top
“If it's a 4-3-3, Valverde has to play in the midfield. As a winger… perhaps on occasions, it depends what I want the wingers to do. If I ask Valverde to do what Rodrygo does, I'd be making a mistake, and if I ask Rodrygo to do what Valverde does, it would be the same thing. Any of the guys can switch positions but what doesn't change is their attributes".

Special game
“These games are always the same. There is a lot of rivalry between teams and fans and there is quality on show. It's no different to a Milan-Inter or a Chelsea-Tottenham game, the feeling is the same. It's a special game for those involved, I don't know what more to say. I have done it before with Messi and Ronaldo, the feeling is exactly the same, nothing changes. We shouldn't be focused on the individual aspects, the Clásico has been around for longer than Messi, Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, and it will continue to exist beyond the guys who are playing in it now as well".

“The plan against Shakhtar was pretty clear. Wait with a low block because they come out and pressure with players between the lines. What we wanted to avoid, was the ball getting into areas where they could hurt us. Every game is different and without changing our identity, we adapt to that a bit. Perhaps the strategy we employed against Shakhtar wouldn't work against Barcelona because Barcelona use the ball differently. Football is a wonderful sport because your confidence can be low like after the Espanyol game, but you know you have another game coming up where you can earn it back. It's a special game because we're up against a great team with fantastic players and everyone wants to be the star in these kinds of games".

Hazard is fine. He has trained with the team, everything's okay, just like Carvajal. Then, we know it's difficult to throw a player coming back from injury straight into the action. The key thing is to have him available and he could be useful at any point".

Physical side of the game
“The physical side of things is on the up because we've got important players back in Kroos, Marcelo and Mendy, who have been out for a long time. Something we need to improve on, is that I'd like to pressure higher up and we have to work on that. I like what I'm seeing in an attacking sense, there's creativity from the players. The coach has less to with that really, it's more about the quality of the players".

Barcelona squad
“I don't like to assess other squads. I can talk to you about mine, I love it. Barcelona have the same identity, the same playing style. Players have changed, Messi has gone, but Barça's youngsters are fantastic. We're going up against Barça without Messi, and we used to take on Barça with Messi, but it doesn't change how we feel about this game - it always has been and always will be difficult against them".

“I want to have a team who can do all sorts of things on the pitch. Having one clear identity means the opposition can find solutions more easily. The principles of the game don't change. We like to have the ball, play good football, and if we get the chance, utilise the counter-attack as well, because that's the easiest way to score goals. That's the identity I'd like to see in my team".

How many pieces of gum per game?
“I don't know, I don't count them. It's the only time in my life when I chew gum. I don't do it otherwise. I feel the same in these kinds of games, it's normal to worry. That's a positive thing because if you're not scared, you'll go up against a lion with the impression that it's just a cat. Fear is a positive feeling and confidence is necessary too because I have a strong team full of players with real quality, not just technically and physically, but mentally as well".

“Fear is something that happens. Sometimes you think about it before a game, sometimes before a training session, sometimes afterwards. It's a fairly constant thing and it's good. Fortunately, I'm not terrified. I never am before a game because I always think there are worse things in life than losing a football match".