Carlo Ancelotti spoke at a virtual press conference at Real Madrid City ahead of the game against Athletic.
The Italian gave his thoughts on the Copa del Rey quarter-final (9:30pm CET):
“It’s a very important game for us; it’s the quarter-final of a competition that we’re really excited about.
It’s going to be a very difficult game, a fantastic atmosphere at San Mamés against strong opposition and we’ll have to be at our best. We’ve played against Athletic a lot this season and we’ve done well in every game. They have been very close games but of course, you have to be at your best to win at San Mamés”.
On International break
“We’ll also have to assess the players who’re coming back and have been playing.
Casemiro didn’t play and Rodrygo only played a little bit. That’s something we’ll have to look at today.
If they’re just a bit tired, they could travel as we might need them for a few minutes in the second half or in extra time if it goes that way. If it’s just fatigue, they’ll travel”.
On which Goalkeeper to start
“I haven’t decided yet. We might see Courtois play because I’ve never said Lunin will only play Copa games.
Lunin can play in LaLiga too. I’ll decide tomorrow whether to go with Courtois or Lunin, and we’ll see in future games too”.
On whether Benzema will play or not
“We don’t know at the moment because he’s only been able to do individual work so far. He’s feeling good, I think he’ll train with the team today and then we’ll make a decision on whether he’ll travel or play.
We don’t want to take any risks, if he is cleared by the doctors he will play, if not, someone else will.
Ancelotti on Left-back
“We have two options, either play Alaba or Nacho at left-back. Having Marcelo suspended means we have one less option.
I know which of the two I’m going to use there, but I won’t tell you. The evaluation doesn’t depend on whether Nico Williams or Berenguer play, it’s more about what we want to do on the left-hand side. Nacho is more defensive and less used to the position.
We could go more defensive to stop Nico Williams, but Alaba gives us more with the ball”.
Could we see Bale and Hazard play?
“Yes, it’s possible, because they are feeling fine, as is Asensio, who has made a full recovery. Sure, Vini Jr., and Rodrygo have just got back but they’re 20 years old, not 60, like me. They can recover in time. But Hazard and Bale are ready to play”.
“Carvajal is fine, he’s available. It’s true he hasn’t trained much but he’s in condition to play. Lucas has finished every game he’s played in.
We’re missing Mendy, we’re without our left-backs. We have to adapt a bit but I think we’ll be able to sort out our defence for tomorrow’s game”.
On his coaching license
“I’m a guy who tries to respect the law, the rules.
I think it was just a misunderstanding because my license was set to expire but the Spanish Coaching Association helped me to take a course with them in October, which I’m very thankful for.
It was a miscommunication between the Italian Coaches Association and UEFA”.