NEWS STORY. 29/04/2022
Carlo Ancelotti appeared in an online press conference from Real Madrid City on the day before our team's LaLiga matchday 34 meeting with Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabéu (4:15pm CEST). The coach explained: “We're aware we're very close to clinching the title and we have to get the point we need in these games because the league hasn't finished yet. We'd like to end it tomorrow and the team know the performance we need. Nobody thought we'd be here at this stage of the season. The team has done a superb job so far and we've done it by winning a lot of games away from home at very tough grounds - twice in Seville, in Bilbao and Barcelona, San Sebastián…”.
“Since the end of the game against City all we've been focused on is the Espanyol match. We're on match point and when the best tennis players get there, they make sure they win it. We're a great team and when we need to give that final blow, we will do so. I hope it comes tomorrow. I don't think we'll relax because the title is so close and I don't think it'll be going through anyone's mind after all the hard work we've done to get here. We need a point and we have to think about preparing for the match in the best possible way to try and win it”.
How does he rate his team's LaLiga campaign
“I'm very pleased with the work done and so far it's been a very easy season for me because I've had the full and clear support of the club and the players, who have accepted every decision I have made in a very professional manner".
Return leg against Manchester City
“We're only thinking about tomorrow's game and if we have to celebrate, we'll do so, just like everyone else. We haven't prepared any kind of celebrations yet, we're only thinking about winning the match".
Starting line-up against Espanyol
“We have some issues in defence because we're without Alaba, Nacho and Militão. I'll give Vallejo a run-out; he's played less minutes but he's a fantastic professional. Casemiro can play alongside him at centre-back. I have lots of options in the middle but I have fresh players in Camavinga and Ceballos, who have done a good job and are full of confidence. Asensio is fresh too and I'll assess whether Karim can start another game and if he's fully recovered I'll be able to play him. I'll put a team out capable of winning the game while avoiding any injuries to players who might be fatigued".
“Benzema and Vini Jr. could rest but I believe if a player has recovered well, they should play. The squad is in good health but if someone needs to rest, I'll give them that. Not because it's an easy game but because if a player hasn't 100% recovered, there is a greater chance of them picking up an injury”.
“I always speak to the players to find out how they're feeling and their opinions are hugely important but I make the final decision. I haven't come across many players in my career who ask me to leave them out because they're tired. There are many elements to consider: the medical assessment, the physios' work... I have to take all of that into account and then make a decision”.
Attacking performance over the course of the season
“I know these players very well. Karim is doing a phenomenal job, we've been great in an attacking sense. Both he and Vini Jr. and Asensio have scored a lot of goals. Kroos, Modrić and Alaba have helped too and Casemiro got one in the crucial game against Getafe. We've had periods of very good work at the back too but up top we've been consistent thanks to Karim, Vini Jr. and even Rodrygo, who hasn't got as many goals but he's made the difference in several games".
Praise for Marcelo
“I'd reiterate he's found it difficult not to be playing so often but he continues to be a fantastic professional. He feels the weight of being captain and he's just the absolute best in a professional sense. He's always trained brilliantly and been a perfect captain. He deserved more minutes but that's just football. Whenever he has played he's delivered and he'll continue to do that in the upcoming games. He has my utmost respect as a player and as a person because he's going to be the guy with the most titles in the history of the club”.
“We don't need any reinforcements in this position because we have guys in the squad already who can do it. Kroos, Camavinga, Ceballos… Lots of players can play that position. Kroos played defensive midfielder in the second half against Sevilla and did a great job”.
“He had the same issue as before the game against City, discomfort in his abductor muscle. We'll have to wait until Tuesday to see if he can play on Wednesday".
His development as a coach
“Football has changed and I honestly have to say, we coaches have to move with the times. I consider myself an experienced coach because I've been here through all the changes football has seen. Football is different to what it was 20 years ago, when I won my first trophy. The rules have changed, offisdes, and even the way goalkeepers play. Football will continue to change and I have to be able to keep up with it”.
The feat of winning all of the big five leagues
“Honestly, I don't like to discuss that because I still haven't done it and I'm superstitious in that sense. If you don't mind, I'd like to respond to that when this is over and I'll tell you how I really feel".
His son's work as his assistant
“Davide is a competent, disciplined, professional and very calm assistant coach. He works alongside Francesco Mauri, who is very young too. Luis works with the goalkeepers, Pintus with his experience on the physical side of things. I have a young and very competent coaching team. We combine their enthusiasm with my experience well. It's difficult for me to talk about this because I have an emotional and family connection with him as my son. He's here because he's a good professional, not because he's my son. I think we'll see him turn into a very good coach in the future".
"A coach cannot tell the whole truth in a press conference. That's fairly clear. All madridistas are only thinking about two things: winning tomorrow and winning on Wednesday. We, as madridistas, are only thinking about winning tomorrow and Wednesday as well".