Ancelotti: "The league is going to be very tight until the end"

NEWS STORY. 03/12/2021. Rodrigo Salamanca

"We're going into a very competitive game against Real Sociedad and the team is in good shape", explained the coach.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media in a press conference ahead of Real Madrid's LaLiga matchweek 16 fixture against Real Sociedad at the Reale Arena (Saturday, 9pm CET): "Real Sociedad play very good football. They've got a lot of defensive quality, they're very well organised, very strong and I'm really looking forward to this test in a fantastic stadium and we'll go out to do our best and get the win".

"The coming games are important. We've got an advantage having played a game more. The league will be wide open for a long time. By doing well in these games, we could gain an advantage and manage it in the future. But it won't be like that. The league is going to be very tight until the end because of the games I watch and the games we're playing".

"There's nothing to be alarmed about. We're evaluating the physical condition of the players in every game. The squad has been ready and prepared for a while. Bale won't be in the squad but he's back training with the team. He'll be back next week. Ceballos has started training on his own. We have some players who're playing more and we have to focus on them". 

"The team looks in pretty good shape and I didn't see any fatigue in today's training session. We've only played two games with the same eleven, against Shakhtar and Barcelona. I have made some changes, for example, Nacho against Granada; Mariano against Elche; and Camavinga against Osasuna. I've rotated a lot with Rodrygo and Asensio; I've also done it with Lucas Vázquez, Carvajal and Marcelo. I've made a few changes".
Focussed on Real Sociedad
"We're not thinking about Inter or Atlético, because they aren't the most important games. We're focussed on that. I'm going to put out the best team to win the game. If I think Casemiro needs to play because I think he's going to help us, I won't be considering him getting a card. If he plays and gets a booking and has to miss the Atlético, no problem".

Changes in the midfield
"I don't know if they'll be able to play these three games in a row. I have to consider that CasemiroModric and Kross could play against Real Sociedad. Modric could sleeps badly and not wake up feeling well and be tired, in that case I obviously wouldn't play him".

"Hazard hasn't played to the level that everyone expects of him yet. He can do it. He's fine, he's in good shape physically and training well. He could play in the next few games.

Footballers who have become coaches
"A player who has played in midfield has more of an advantage when it comes to becoming a coach because normally he's a physical player, who has quality, has to read the game well and know how to position himself. Xabi Alonso was one of the greatest midfielders I've ever had. He was very intelligent, fantastic feet and an unbelievable level professionalism. If I had to bet on any player becoming a coach, it would have been on him". 

Video.Ancelotti: "La Liga va a estar muy igualada hasta el final"

"If I could have chosen which player to be, I wouldn't have wanted to be a midfielder, I'd have wanted to be a striker. I would like to be Vinicius, Benzema or Haaland. A centre forward, who scored a lot of goals, because during my career I didn't score many goals."
"There's always a reminder because the defensive side of the game is very important. Courtois has saved us and done very well in the last two games. That's why we've only conceded one goal in the last few games. Courtois' performance has meant we've been quite solid defensively".
"We have replacements for Vinicius Jr, Benzema and Casemiro. All three are playing very well, especially the two forwards. It's difficult to take a forward off when he scores goals to avoid disrupting this dynamic. Casemiro is different because he balances this team and the balance he gives in this position is really important, like scoring a goal or making a save".
"There are players behind Casemiro with a lot of quality such as Camavinga and Blanco, but they don't have the experience that Casemiro has at the moment. We could give Casemiro a rest in the next few games. The young players bring a lot of enthusiasm and energy, but they don't have the experience he has. That's why these three players have played more".
Vinicius Jr.
"The stronger players are always going to get special attention from the opposition. Vinicius' performances have been good. Monchu's tackle was a bit aggressive, but it's not particularly serious. The defence is more focused because of what he's doing now. It's not dangerous for his well-being".
Improvements in defence
"We've struggled a bit in the last few games. We have to improve our positioning. We were unlucky with Rafa Mir's goal because of a block by Mendy on Militão; that can happen. We're doing well at what we're doing. Courtois has helped us a lot in the air".
"I haven't had a fall out with Isco. He hasn't warmed up in the last few games because Iscowe were winning. I've had to bring on a more defensive midfielder like Camavinga or Valverde. If we're not leading, I'm going to bring on a forward, a midfielder or a more attacking full-back. If we're winning and we need to defend, I'm going to bring on a player with different characteristics".
"Kids have to pursue their dreams. One day I had a dream of playing in Serie A and I fulfilled it".
Inter Milan
"I've not had time to watch Inter's game against Roma. Inter are doing well at the moment. Roma are struggling a bit as they're in a transitional period. Mourinho has brought a lot of excitement. Inter are a more complete team".