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Ancelotti: “It's the start of an important week and the squad’s doing well”

NEWS STORY. 10/03/2023. Eduardo Olivera

"We want to go into Sunday's game against Barcelona in the best possible frame of mind and that means defeating Espanyol and reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League”, said the coach.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke in the press room at Real Madrid City on the eve of the clash against Espanyol, on matchday 25 of LaLiga: "We've been working hard this week as we usually do. We've worked on everything. Tactical play, attacking moves, which hasn't been great in the last few games. The squad's doing well and it's the start of an important week with the Espanyol game, Liverpool and Barcelona. We’re doing well and I hope we can put on a good display."
It's an important moment in the season because we want to go into Sunday's game against Barcelona in the best possible frame of mind. That means defeating Espanyol and reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday."
On how Benzema’s injuries have affected the team
"Benzema had a knock on his ankle and it swelled up. He was hoping to recover but hasn’t been able to because he hasn’t trained with the team. He started individual training today and will be available for Wednesday's game. His absence inevitably has an impact because he's such an important player and especially because of the season he had last year.”

"He's a player who's scored a lot of goals and the fact that he hasn't reached this level yet has affected us slightly. We coped well without him in the first part of the season and in the second part of the season Karim delivered. We think he's going to be important until the end of the season. We're not talking about a player who needs to get to his best level – he’s done really well in some games and has scored goals. We're confident that he's going to help us. His absence for tomorrow is something that happens in football. It's a knock and he hasn't fully recovered."
“He's not affected, he's in good spirits, he's highly motivated. He's very confident about the season ahead. We're in a very motivated atmosphere and with great confidence. We think we can still have a shout in the league, in the Champions League and also in the Copa del Rey. We're looking at getting him in top condition for Wednesday.”
On Rodrygo starting
Rodrygo will be playing as a centre forward against Espanyol. He has to play where the team needs him. Sometimes it's better to use his skills on the outside and in other games he's better suited to playing between the lines, it depends on how we set up for the game. He can play in a lot of positions and we have to take advantage of his quality.”

On Benzema’s contract renewal
“For me, he is a lifetime Real Madrid player. For me, it's clear what's going to happen next year, but I'm not a magician.”
Camavinga’s position
“I've said it many times. I consider Camavinga as a central player and in emergencies he can play as a left-back.”
On a start for Álvaro Rodríguez
“He's ready. He's inexperienced, but just like everyone else when they start a job. He's got the quality to play from the first minute.”
Defence-attack balance
“I believe that the defensive aspect is the most important element, especially with this squad, which possesses extraordinary quality on the ball. The defensive aspect is a collective effort of sacrifice and recently we've been doing that really well. The team's much more solid, it's pressing much higher up the pitch than before and this gives us confidence. There're moments when the quality isn't apparent and the forwards can't hit the target, but the quality's there and sooner or later it'll pay off.”
​"They're a team that have something to fight for and every team is highly motivated, like every team. They'll be solid and very organised defensively, not allowing many spaces. They’ll look to hit Joselu, who’s extremely dangerous in the air. We’ll have to be up for it because it's going to be a tough game."
Question marks over the team
“I don't have to go back to 2015. This happens every year and when there's a slightly more challenging moment than normal, the criticism comes. There was criticism last year after Barcelona, at Everton too. It's my job and when it's pouring rain, I use my umbrella.”
Regaining form
“It's very simple. We have to win on Saturday, Wednesday and Sunday. You can get it back in the simplest way.”
“He's recovered and I think he'll train with the team on Sunday, after tomorrow's game, to hopefully be available against Liverpool.”
Negreira Case
"It's difficult to talk about this issue. I prefer to focus on the present and talk about other things, which are more important to us."