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Ancelotti: "Rayo will make it tough for us, but the team is prepared"

NEWS STORY. 25/02/2022. Eduardo Olivera

"This week’s training sessions have allowed us to improve and I hope we can show this in Vallecas", said the coach.

Carlo Ancelotti addressed the media in the virtual press conference at Real Madrid City ahead of tomorrow´s clash on matchday 26 of LaLiga, which will see our side go head to head with Rayo Vallecano at the Estadio de Vallecas (Saturday, 6:30pm CET): “It’ll be a tough game for us because Rayo have been playing really well this season and especially at home. They’ll make it tough for us, but we´ve trained well and the team is prepared. Let´s hope we can put on a good performance”.

“I´m optimistic. We have to assess what is happening. We haven´t had a good spell since the Super Cup for several reasons, but now we´re in a better place. We played well against Alavés. We reacted well and played some good stuff in the second half. This week’s training sessions have allowed us to improve and I hope we can show this in Vallecas”.

The importance of Asensio
"He´s clearly got a lot of quality, he can enjoy that and that´s better for the team. He´s been playing really well, he´s motivated and in good physical condition. He´s proved to be the difference in many games He´s opened the scoring many times and he killed the game off against Atlético. They´re not just goals, they´re really important goals”.

Bale and Alaba
"Bale isn´t going to play. He´s got a muscle problem this week like Alaba, and they´ll both miss the game. They´ll be back in training next week”.

Differences between the first and second half
“It´s hard to say. It´s not physical, because if it was a physical problem you don´t play well in the first half and you don´t play well in the second. We normally do well in the second half. We´ve spoken about it and it´s good for us to be playing Rayo, as they´re a side who´ve scored a lot of goals in the first 30 minutes in the league. So we´ll try to get off to a good start tomorrow”.

Barcelona´s improvement
“I´ve seen all the games and they´ve played well. It isn´t easy to win away at Napoli and they put on a complete performance and managed to win. Barcelona are a side who will always be fighting for the league title, and that goes for this year too, even though they are behind they´re playing well.”
Change of system
“We didn´t start this season with a very clearly-defined system. Sometimes we´ve defended with a 4-4-2 and after the defeat to Espanyol we tried to defend as a deep unit. It worked out well for us because we won ten straight games but then we´ve found it more difficult to counter attack with the deep unit. We´re thinking about using a block but higher up to press further forward and get more control when we don´t have the ball”.

Replacements for Casemiro and Mendy
“What can I say? It´s an idea that can be used if we have friendlies, but we don´t have any. Before the PSG game, we have two finals because if we could win in Vallecas and against Real it would be crucial for the league. So I´m going to put out my best team against Rayo and Real Sociedad before we play PSG. One player who can replace Casemiro is Kroos and he doesn´t need to adapt to the position because he´s played their many times. As I said, I´ve got players with vast experience and I don´t need to try things out. I know what they can give me in these types of games and I haven´t  thought today or before about a player the replace Casemiro or Mendy. Because first we have two finals to play”.

Winning the league or the Champions League
“It´s all important. We started the season with the aim of winning four competitions. We´ve won one of them, the Super Cup. We couldn´t quite manage the Copa del Rey and we´re fighting for two more. It´ll be important to win, whether it´s the league or the Champions League. The important thing is to win trophies at the end of the season”.
Would you bet on winning the league?
“I don´t bet on anything because it doesn´t make sense. We´re doing well in the league and we have to continue to do so”.

Comparisons with the 2015 side
“These moments happen. Sometimes injuries affect the most important players.  We´ve been combining tactical and technical work with physical training.  And it´s gone well so far. We´re going to try to improve in this area and we´re also trying to change some things tactically. We want to be more aggressive, press higher up because I think the team has the energy to do so”.

Situation in Russia and Ukraine
"I’ve spoken to Lunin and so has the club president to give him our full our support. We know it´s a difficult moment, especially for him. The war is a horrible thing and the only thing the club can do is be close to him and show him our support. He´s worried because he has people close to him in Kiev. His mother, friends, so it´s normal for him to be concerned. This naturally affects his spirit. Training can be a welcome distraction from these things. He´s a true professional and obviously all of this affects him”.

“I agree with Nadal. It´s really strange for this to be happening in 2022, but it´s happening and we have to think about it unfortunately. It´s going to change our lives. I just hope it can be solved soon because it´s really strange to be thinking about this in 2022. I´ve already experienced it. My grandfather was in the First World War, my father in the Second, and they told me a lot of things. It´s a real horror situation”.