Looking at all the pictures of the poor team getting drenched made me think of this song. The weather didn’t seem to dampen their spirits though!
Those who started the Copenhagen match had a lighter training today. Fabio had a stomach bug so he didn’t train today but Carlo said he would be available for the match. Gareth & Xabi worked on their recovery. Interesting news: It’s being said that Xabi’s recovery is going much quicker than planned and he may be able to return to playing in a few weeks (maybe even by El Clasico). Wouldn’t that be AMAZING? Fingers crossed. I want him to come back when he’s really ready so there is no chance of further injury.
The following players have been called up for tomorrow’s match against Levante:
Goalkeepers: Casillas, Diego Lopez and Jesus.
Defenders: Varane, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao, Marcelo, Carvajal, Arbeloa and Nacho.
Midfielders: Khedira, Casemiro, Modric, Di Maria, Isco and Illarra.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Jese and Morata.
Carlo took the time to discuss international duty and rotation of players in his presser.
Ancelotti: “We need to play a very intense game to beat Levante”
by Alberto Navarro
“It’s a tough match and we have to be focused because we’ve already had problems with similar squads like Villarreal and Elche”, said Real’s coach
Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the press the day ahead of the Whites’ clash against Levante, the last Liga match before the international break. The Italian coach discussed tomorrow’s match against the Valencian side: “Levante is difficult in their stadium and we need to play a very intense game to win. It’s a tough match and we have to be focused because we’ve already had problems with similar squads like Villarreal and Elche”.
Ancelotti left no room for doubt when asked if he’ll rotate the squad tomorrow: “We have many games and everyone is in good form. The ones who didn’t start against Copenhagen will play tomorrow and there will be rotations to avoid problems. Not everyone who didn’t get a chance is going to play, but many will”. Regarding the five-point lead first place teams Barcelona and Atletico have in La Liga, Ancelotti said: “It’s worrisome if we play every game like we did against Atletico. I think that we’ll play better in our next matches. We’ll start playing more naturally and we have the chance to close the gap”.
The Real Madrid coach also discussed the system used in the thrashing against Copenhagen: “We played with a 4-3-3 formation and I liked how the players interpreted the system. We were well balanced. If Cristiano Ronaldo is more open we need to play with three midfielders. What matters is knowing this system as well as the 4-4-2 and to play both naturally”.
Ancelotti was adamant when asked about Bale and if he’ll end up playing with his national team: “He’ll stay here to train for 15 days. We have to coordinate with Wales but I think that he’ll stay here in the end and train over the 15 days. That way he’ll be ready for the match after the break”. When asked about the Welsh player’s mental and physical state, Ancelotti replied: “He’s not happy because he was looking forward to playing. He’s had a rough patch and that’s normal when someone wants to play and can’t. He’s calm and mentally he’s doing well. It’s a small issue, nothing serious, and it will be taken care of in 15 days”.
Ancelotti also had words of praise for Cristiano Ronaldo and Di Maria: “I try to have a good relationship with all the players. It’s normal for me. Cristiano Ronaldo is an extremely important player for the team, just like other players are”, he said about the Portuguese striker. Regarding the Argentine midfielder: “He’s doing very well. He netted twice the other day and played in a more advanced position. His skill is that he can play in several positions and that’s why he is so important. He’s versatile”.
The Italian coach was also asked his opinion on players Benzema and Casemiro. “He has his place on the team. He’s the starting forward. He didn’t score in the last two matches, but I’ve got confidence in him. We didn’t talk after the match against Copenhagen because there was no need to”, said Ancelotti about the French forward. When asked about Casemiro, the coach replied: “He’s very young and we have to be careful with him. Once everything starts to go well we can give him more minutes. It’s harder to put him in when there’s. He’s very young and a great player, but he needs experience”.
When asked about Varane’s return to the starting eleven against Copenhagen and the possibility of him being called up for his national team, Ancelotti said: “What matters is that he has started to play after his injury and he played really well, he was calm. I think he’s going to up the competition for the centre-back position. I’m going to discuss it with Deschamps because we have to be cautious with him”.
Regarding Coentrao’s absence from the training session, Ancelotti explained that “he didn’t train because he had a stomach issue last night. He’ll be ready tomorrow. Either he or Marcelo will start tomorrow”. To conclude, Ancelotti commented on Ozil’s transfer to Arsenal: “I’m pleased with the squad. I’ve always wished him the best of luck, but we don’t need him. The problem isn’t up front, we’ve scored a lot of goals; it was the balance. And I say was because we fixed it in the last match”.
I seem to have caught some kind of a cold/bug so I’m taking my sniffling, feverish self home to bed. I’ll try to post a few more things tonight if I’m up to it.