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Ancelotti: "We're performing well and head into the derby full of confidence"

NEWS STORY. 11/12/2021. Rodrigo Salamanca

"It’ll be a good contest and one the fans will love", declared the coach.

Carlo Ancelotti addressed the media in an online press conference in the build-up to Real Madrid’s derby meeting against Atlético at the Santiago Bernabéu (Sunday, 9pm CET) and the coach had the following to say: “The statistics say that it’s three points, but then you’ve got the emotional aspect involved in playing a derby against a direct rival. The fact that they're a direct rival puts both teams under more pressure because it’s a special match for the fans. It’s three points in the table and we’ll be going out there to get them and put smiles on our fans’ faces".

"We're not thinking about the opposition's intensity in defence. It'll be a hard-fought game with lots of battles. It'll be a hard-fought match because both teams are going for the same targets this season. They're a solid side with individual and collective quality. We'll have to put together a good game plan to give us an advantage in our play and in the game”. 

“Benzema has trained, is feeling good, is available and will play tomorrow. I want to mention that all of the players trained and Ceballos will join in with us next week. I'm keen to highlight the work being done by the medical team and fitness coaches. The fact that we’ve got a fit squad at this stage of the season shows just what a very good job they’re doing”.

“He’s doing fine and is in the squad list. I don't know whether he'll start. Gareth is ready to play from the off or could even play a full 90 minutes. He has to have the motivation and show that he's keen to play, regardless of the mintues he gets. You can see that in training. The fact that he’s in the squad means that he’s got that motivation”.

“If we win, it’ll give us three more points on a rival that'll fight all the way in a competition they won last season. There are another games, moments and runs during the season and I’m not going to put more pressure on this game. That pressure is good for us. We’re confident because we’re performing well and let’s hope that we play well again tomorrow”.

Looking to the future
"We've shown that we've been performing better than the other teams up until now. If LaLiga finished today, it'd be all over, but it isn't over and we've got another six or seven months ahead of us. I don't know what'll happen. We're interested in the future and not the past, where we've performed well".
Value of LaLiga title
"I'd give the LaLiga title the same value as the other trophies we've won. The Champions League is the most important competition in Europe and the world. I've never won LaLiga here and that motivates me to win it".

“I don't know how Atlético will set up. We both like to play on the counter-attack and we have the players to play in that system. The duels and set pieces will be important and we have to bear that in mind. They’re strong opponents and it'll be a tough game for both sides. It'll be a good contest and one that both sets of supporters will love”.
“Simeone has built something special at Atlético and has established them amongst the best teams in Europe. They're always in the hunt every year and are winning trophies. He continues to do extremely well. Every coach would like to be in Simeone’s shoes in the sense that he's been at the same club for a long time and has made his mark. Here’s hoping that the same thing happens to me and that I'm able to stay on at this club for 14 years, which is what Simeone has done at Atlético”.

Opposition’s players
“I like Griezmann, Luis Suárez, De Paul... they've also got some defenders that I like, as well as the goalkeeper. They’re a very strong all-round team with good players”.
In what ways have Atlético changed?
“They’ve changed the characteristics of their players. They've now got more individual quality, but they continue to show the same level of attacking and defensive commitment. Their mentality hasn't changed”.
Managing injuries
“At the moment, we're doing well in terms of injuries. We're doing the same thing as the other teams that are playing every three days. We have to assess the players’ fatigue and give them the time to recover to prepare for the next games. The players that aren't playing have to train and those who are playing have to rest and then go out and play. You've also got to help the players with their recovery with special treatments, such as using cold or warm water. That's no secret and it's something all of the teams do”.
“He's enjoying a great career. He did well at Atlético, at Chelsea and he's now doing very well here. He's a great goalkeeper. He has a real presence in his box and that's his biggest strength”. 

Game plan
“I have to consider the characteristics of the squad and our playing style. Every coach would like to play attacking football and play in the opposition's half. However, you can't do that for 90 minutes because there's another team out there. Given the characteristics of my players, we’re more comfortable when defending with a low block. If I want to apply a high I press, the likes of Valverde or Camavinga could prove to be more useful”.
“The toughest thing isn't having a €100 million player on the bench. The toughest thing is to leave a player on the bench. What's more, if that player is professional and disciplined, that makes it even more difficult”.