Ready To Take On Schalke

9 Mar

Satellite (15)This photo cracked me up for some reason. It was a long day and I’m a bit giddy, so my apologies. The team had their final training today joined by Real Madrid C defender Iván Sáez . We meet Schalke tomorrow.



Ancelotti: “We are not going to change our identity; we have scored a lot of goals playing that way”
by Javier Garcia | Photographer: Victor Carretero

“We want to do as well as possible in the world’s most important competition”, explained the manager.

Carlo Ancelotti analysed the return leg of the Champions League round of 16 in a press conference. The Whites coach talked about the game against Schalke: “We are not going to change our identity; we have scored a lot of goals playing that way. German sides have a lot of quality. We want to do as well as possible in this competition, it is the biggest tournament in the world. We will try and do as well as possible against any team we play. Last year we did well against the Germans and we will hope to repeat that tomorrow”.

“Khedira and Modric are on the list and I am hoping to give them minutes. Sergio will be available on Sunday. That is good news because the return of important players will help us during the final stage of the season. Modric, despite doing everything a central midfielder does, can also help to penetrate, and that unbalances opponents. I want to give him 30 minutes tomorrow”.

“Yes, they are doing well, they will definitely be playing. They have given us a lot and I have total confidence in them without doubt. They have had a low point, but that is what happens, not just with the three of them. They have scored less lately because the team is not helping the forwards. They will play the same way because that is where the players are most comfortable, they have given us good results and we have scored a lot of goals”.

Talk at the San Mamés
“I tried to explain my opinion on the game to them and the difficulties we had. They understood and agreed. We are clear on what the problem is and each game is a good chance to fix it and improve. We are playing with too many touches, play is not quick. There is not a good combination between passing the ball and getting away from markers. We have to move the ball quicker”.

“It is not true that he has played so many minutes. In the last few months we have not played so many games. He is not tired. We do not have a fitness issue, it is a technical problem. Kroos does not need to rest. Another question is assessing the card ban, but that is more related to the league than the Champions League”.

Bad form from Bale?
“If that was true then I would need to change the entire team. Karim, Cristiano, the midfielders…the whole team needs to improve. I don’t think that Bale is happy with what he is doing. He understands that well and is going to try to improve”.

“Modric is in the squad and I want to play him for 30 minutes.”

“At the moment we are thinking that we must go to the Camp Nou, but first we have to play against Schalke and Levante. Our confidence will depend on how we do in those two matches. I hope we react well”.

Support from the club
“I have spoken to the president. He has called me a lot over the last few days to give me his support and best wishes. In this regard, especially this week, I have been supported a lot. The club’s support is always there, they have a lot of confidence in my work and I am grateful for that”.

“When I play Jesé we change the 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 in order to have more space on the wings. When I play a central midfielder it is to add more balance, but I am not correcting the system. The system only changes once”.

“He will not play against Schalke. He is doing well and sticking to his program. I don’t know how close he is to playing but he is a player with a lot of talent”.

Margin for error
“No team can afford to make errors now. Each error compromises the season. At the moment there is more pressure on everyone. We are all very sorry about the two games. We have already made the mistakes. Now we need more consistency”.

His responsibility
“100%. When a team isn’t doing well, the manager has 100% responsibility. When a team wins, I also know that the coach deserves no credit. That is evident”.

“The knockout round is very close. Chelsea have more experience and a little advantage because of the result in the first leg, but it will be close”.


Lucas Silva: “We want a calm game with no surprises against Schalke”
by Javier Garcia | Photographer: Victor Carretero

“Ever since I came to Real Madrid I have felt good, calm and at ease when playing”, said the Whites midfielder.

Lucas Silva appeared alongside Carlo Ancelotti in the pre-match conference, one day before the game against Schalke. The Brazilian talked about the game: “It will be a difficult match. We have a slight advantage but we don’t want to use it. We will start the game strong and trying to get results. We want to have a calm game without surprises”.

“If I have the opportunity to play, I will play as I always do. I hope to be able to play my football, play with assurance and calmly; always playing up the field. If possible, we want to get a Champions League win at home”.

“I have enjoyed my first few matches. I need to improve and keep developing, but I have felt good, calm and at ease”.

The team’s situation
“There is no crisis, perhaps a moment of instability. I am very calm about it. We drew a game and we lost a game. We have to work and run more to get over this phase and get back to winning ways”.

His position
“I have already played in various positions. Slightly further back, where Kroos is, and a little higher up the pitch. I don’t see any difficulties, I am comfortable. The manager is the person who decides where I will play best”.

“I already have a house, car and I have visited a lot of places in Madrid. It is a very nice city. I practically feel at home here. My family is not here but they are coming next month and then it will be even better”.

The following players were called up for the match:

Goalkeepers: Casillas, Keylor Navas and Pacheco.
Defenders: Varane, Pepe, Coentrão, Carvajal, Arbeloa, Marcelo and Nacho.
Midfielders: Khedira, Kroos, Bale, Lucas Silva, Modric, Isco and Illarra.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Jesé and Chicharito.



Kroos: “We want to play a good game in front of our fans and get through to the quarters”

“We expect a highly motivated Schalke side that will be difficult to beat”, explained the central midfielder.

In an interview for the Bwin website, Toni Kroos analysed the return leg of the Champions League round of 16 against Schalke 04: “Our first objective is to get through to the quarter-finals. We want another good performance against Schalke, this time in front of our fans and with our passage to the next stage to play for. We’ll see what the final scoreline reads, but that is secondary”.

“They won’t be straying too far from the tactics they employed in the first leg. They’ll be looking to position themselves well defensively and then as the minutes tick by they’ll have to push a bit forward as they have to come back from behind”.

“We’ll have chances and I believe we’ll score, especially as we’re playing at home. Schalke will be giving it their all, they’ll be looking to make a fresh start in the clashes against us. We are expecting a highly motivated rival who will be difficult to beat”.

Champions League final in Berlin
“It would be extra special given that it’s in Germany. However, where the final is played is secondary to me. The important thing is getting that far”.

The reception from the team
“I got a great welcome from my team-mates, both on and off the pitch. You always feel a lot better when you’re also comfortable away from the pitch. They knew they were signing a good player, they had watched a lot of my games. I was coming from another big club, where people had faith in my qualities as a player and where my team-mates weren’t nervous about passing the ball to me and they knew what I was capable of”.

“I have fun playing the role of the central midfielder and it has helped me develop my style of play.”

“That is the main source of my confidence at the moment and, on top of that, I am playing with very good players here, which makes it easy to be understood and enjoy yourself. And when you are enjoying yourself on the pitch, things almost always work out well”.

“At a club like Real Madrid the goal is always to win everything and that is the short-term aim this season. In the long term, for the length of time I’m here and until my contract expires, I’ll be looking to win titles with this club and to also play an important role”.

Evolution as a player
“My playing style has become more commanding over the last few years, which has something to do with me dropping back a small bit in terms of my position. I used to play as an attacking midfielder. I dropped back a bit under Guardiola and now, on occasion, I play as the sole defensive midfielder. That involves having more time on the ball because the play is built up from the back”.

Comparing the leagues
“The Spanish and German leagues are of a very high standard. Along with the Premier League, they are probably the best. There is a bigger focus here on the footballing aspect of things. In England and Germany perhaps there is more of a focus on the physical side of the game, in breaking down the opposition’s play, especially against the lower placed sides. But the level is extremely high both here and in Germany”.


The team met up for their concentración tonight. (Video)

And, of course, the match promo:

Hala Madrid!

– Lozil

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