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Ancelotti: "The season's still very much alive and we want to finish it strongly"

NEWS STORY. 07/04/2023

"We’re going to field the best team against Villarreal to keep fighting until the end of the league", said the coach.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke in the press room at Real Madrid City after his players completed their final training session ahead of the clash against Villarreal, on matchday 28 of LaLiga. The coach had the following to say: "The team’s a bit fatigued today, but we don't have any problems. Everyone apart from Mendy is available and we have to see how everyone has recovered tomorrow from the Clásico. We have to field the best team to make sure we keep fighting until the end of the league.”
“I'm fine. I'm relaxed, motivated and excited because the team’s doing really well. My mood depends on the mood of the team and I think they’re doing really well. I can have no complaints.
Sometimes I'm so tired after matches that I have no desire to feel the emotion - I just want to relax. There was a lot of pressure on Wednesday before and during the match and when the game ends you feel tired and you just want to rest.”

On whether he would change with Xavi at the moment
“For me, managing Barcelona is impossible because of my history. I wouldn't change. You have to respect my own history and that of each club. I have enormous respect for Barcelona and for Xavi, but I don't want to change with anyone. I'm very happy at the best club in the world and at a place where people are very fond of me. I don't want to change. I’m very excited because the season's still very much alive. We're going to play our fourth final this season. We're pleased to be there, but we have to finish the job.”
“We have a disadvantage in the league because Barcelona have done so well. We have four points fewer than this time last year and they have more. We want to finish the season strongly, which means winning other trophies, and that'd be spectacular. We’re also thinking about the league. The league games help us to maintain good form and a good atmosphere, and until it's mathematically impossible to win, we're going to keep fighting it."

Run-in between Gavi and Vini Jr.
"It was a match with a strong rivalry, just like all the Clásicos. There are always run-ins between players. In football terms, Vini Jr. is leading the way at Real Madrid and in football as a whole. Everyone at Real Madrid hopes he can continue like this because he's doing some great things in football".

How would you rank Wednesday’s game personally?
It was my 1272nd game and I’d place it high up as it’s a semi-final and if you win a semi-final you reach the final. That victory against Barcelona means we play in the final of the Copa del Rey. On a footballing note, I'd put this match in the top 10 of my career, in the top ten of the 1272. I also have to include some finals that weren’t so good in footballing terms but still evoke very nice memories.”

 How do you know exactly how many matches you have managed?
“The other day I looked at the statistics of the games I've managed because I'm close to 1,300 and when that time comes I'll be celebrating a bit, but that’s not the most important thing.”

The team’s position in comparison to this time last season
“There's not much difference at this stage of the season compared to last season. All these games that we have come from behind in give us a confidence and last year it had only happened once against PSG. It’s already happened a few times this season and that gives us confidence. The players are very united, focused and motivated, even the ones who aren't playing. That's very good for us."

A new era for the veterans
“The veterans keep on going. They may have their ups and downs during a season, but it happens to all players. We have to judge players not by their age but by what they do on the pitch. You might think Benzema, Modrić and Kroos don't have the same physical energy as the youngsters, but the way these three handle games is unique and you can't buy that in any market in the world. This stems from experience and they have the experience to handle things like nobody else”.

On the continuation of Modrić, Kroos and Benzema
“I think they'll stay on. We must also think that the day they stop something has to change and we have to look towards the club's future. We have fantastic young players who are going to shape an era at Real Madrid that'll be different the era of Modrić, Kroos and Casemiro.”

Does the Clásico win make the team stronger?
"I've got nothing to prove to anyone after 1,272 games. Everyone knows me and can judge me".

On Alaba’s season
“He's had some problems this season, especially physical ones, with a couple of injuries that have affected him a bit. He hasn't had the consistency of playing time he had last year, but he's back and he's doing really well now. He is also part of the reason why we have kept two clean sheets in these two games.”

"Rodrygo arrived late for training because of a personal problem, then he trained and he's got no problems and is available".

On Vini Jr.’s evolution and how far he can go
"He's more composed in front of goal and in one-on-one situations. He's handled it well. In his case, we've only worked on specific individual drills to improve his finishing".

"There are no limits to what he can achieve. His physique is going to help him a lot. He's got a very strong and powerful body. He's not tired and he always trains very hard. For all footballers who make a difference nowadays, the target is continuity.”

What did you do on your day off after the victory?
“I went to the Casa de Campo on my bike with my wife. I had a great time”.

Are you surprised to come into question?
"I'm not surprised. Because of our job we are in the spotlight at times. It's pretty normal and I don't have any problems. I don't know how many press conferences I've done, but I've done more than 1,272. Almost 2,500. That's enough for today.”