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Ancelotti: "The trip to San Mamés is a chance to demonstrate the quality of the squad"

NEWS STORY. 21/12/2021

"It will be a tough game against a side that plays direct and aggressive football", said the coach.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media ahead of the rearranged LaLiga matchweek 21 game against Athletic at San Mamés (Wednesday, 9.30pm CET). The coach said: "It'll be a very entertaining and tough game, at San Mamés, a place where the fans create an atmosphere I really like. We have some players missing, but it could be an opportunity to demonstrate the quality of the whole squad. We're going to prepare for the game well and try to get the win, like always".
 
"It's about being effective. One of my first coaches said that when you've got the ball you don't concede goals and you've got more chance of winning. But you don't win with possession alone, you need to be effective with it, you need quality and the ability to move when the spaces are closed. It's a feature of the team and it doesn't worry me. We had a lot of shots on goal, but we lacked a bit of quality, but that can happen. A fortnight ago against Athletic we saw that they play much more direct and aggressive football, so it's going to be different to the game against Cadiz. 
 
The midfield
"We've got Casemiro and Modrić out, it's an chance for players like Camavinga, who hasn't played much this recent period. We're considering him for today and for the future, like Valverde. It could be a big opportunity for these players tomorrow. I don't know if I'll change the system because we've had a lot of success with it recently and i'm not sure about changing it. It's true that we don't have a winger on the right and that would be the only reason to change it, as we don't have a right winger it might be better to use a 4-4-2, but I'm not sure. I have to wait until the evening, the evening gives me advice".

Modrić
"We need more visibility. It is true that Modrić hasn't been training at the moment because he's not well. Whatever the result, positive or negative, the player could be negative and be tired, have a fever and have symptoms. In this case Modrić isn't training because he's not feeling well. We have to wait for him to feel better, that's why we've got a seven-day holiday and hopefully when we're back, we'll all be ready to train again. But it's true that when a player tests positive, he can't train. This is a medical issue".
 
Vini Jr.
"He is not tired. He'll play his 22nd game tomorrow. If he's physically fit he's playing because he's bringing a lot to the team. He doesn't look tired to me, he's very motivated, he's keen and very important for us, especially in a game like tomorrow's, where we need a team that's ready to take on a side that works hard on the pitch. We need to match Athletic's energy".

Hazard
"I'll have to assess him. He played all 90 minutes and we'll have a look at him after training today. He was ok yesterday, he's been doing recovery work like the rest of them. He's not a winger who plays out wide like Vini Jr, he likes the left wing, but behind the striker. He has played on the right. I want him to be comfortable when he plays but he has never played our wide because Lucas Vázquez was out there".".

"He likes to play behind the striker and I want the player to be comfortable in the position where he plays. Hazard is training well, at a good intensity. If I play him tomorrow, I don't think it'll be a physical risk. The player is in good shape, he might be tired because he's not used to playing every three days and he might be more at risk than others who're used to it".
 
Penalties
"It seems strange to me, but that was 2021. Hopefully in 2022 we'll be more fortunate".
 
Sevilla-Barcelona
"I'd like to see a good game and I think it'll be a good game because it's two side at differnet points. Barcelona look like they're doing much better. Sevilla are on a good run and it'll be an entertaining game and I'm going to enjoy watching it on TV".
 
Possession
"I think that possession dictates the rhythm and control of the game that you want to play and that's all. When your possession is more direct, you have more risk of being hit on the counter-attack. I ask my players to play forward in possession, good combinations, and movement without the ball".
 
Ceballos
"He's been out for a long time and has recently begun to work. I doubt he'll be in the squad because he's been out for a long time. He's been showing a lot of quality, a lot of desire to come back but we're not going to risk anyone for tomorrow's game. He'll be an important part of the squad when we come back next year".
 
Isco
" It''s a complicated issue. It''s difficult on a personal level and also on a technical level. The player hasn't had the chance to demonstrate the quality he has inside him, because the team's been on a good run without him and having to change this dynamic, not only for him but also for others, has affected him a little".

"I'm talking about Isco, but I coudl say the same for Nacho, Camavinga, Valverde and Marcelo. This run has affected them in the sense that they haven't had minutes to show all the quality they have, but on a professional level, both Isco and the others have worked very well and I can't say anything else. We haven't had any confrontations as people have said, we haven't had any fights, I haven't been angry with him. On a professional level they have accepted that the team is doing well. They are training very well and being patient, waiting to get minutes when the chance comes. Isco is not doing well now but he could be important for tomorrow's game".

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