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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

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“I never said Real Madrid will win this season’s Champions League”: Ancelotti

“The meaningful criticism is appreciated, but the nonsense is not.” Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media on Friday ahead of this weekend’s LaLiga Santander match against Alavés.

Although the most of the conversation focused on the midweek Champions League loss to Paris Saint-Germain.

“We now need to focus on this match, since this is a key part of the league season,” he said of the next encounter.

We’ve got a lead, and we’d like to preserve it. It’s a positive omen that I have the entire squad available. Our key striker has returned. He has a long list of goals and assists to his credit. He’s in better shape than he was against PSG, so he’ll assist us.”

When it came time to talk about PSG’s loss, Ancelotti was first asked how he felt in the days after the first leg.

“I spoke with the president and other directors thereafter,” he answered. We were all in excruciating pain. We were pretty front about how bad we played. The outcome was less of an issue than the performance itself. A 1-0 defeat isn’t all that horrible. The most enjoyable aspect of the game was the outcome. Then came Wednesday, which proved to be a rough day. It was a lot better on Thursday. Today, I am really self-assured. We’re going to win tomorrow.”

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Ancelotti on the possibility of altering his strategy

One of the most pleasing aspects of Ancelotti’s news conferences this season has been his willingness to discuss tactics, and he went into great depth on how his team’s low block has ceased working and how they can move away from it.

“We used to be able to build strong counter attacks with good vertical passes by playing a low block,” he said, “but we’ve struggled with that in recent times.”

It isn’t always the low block that makes things difficult for us. When we win the ball back on a low block, we need to be quicker and more vertical.

We’re having more trouble playing it out from the back than we were before. Sometimes, instead of passing four meters forward, we now pass four meters backwards.

To be honest, we struggled against PSG in areas where we had previously excelled. With Modri, Kroos, Casemiro, and Alaba, bringing the ball out from the back had always been a smart idea, but we had a poor night.

It doesn’t bother me too much since I know we can work out the kinks and get back to doing what we’re good at.”

“Perhaps we forgot that we could employ a high press more since we were performing so well with a low block for a spell,” he continued.

We’re discussing it with the coaching staff right now. Perhaps we could push a little harder than we have been. Perhaps we have forgotten about it in recent years. We’ll give it a shot in the upcoming games.”

Ancelotti discusses the team’s fitness levels.

When asked if he believes the team is tired and that this is why Real Madrid conceded late goals against Athletic Club and PSG, the Italian laughed it off.

“It’s not a physical thing,” he explained, “since the squad is doing great physically.” We’ve given up late goals before, but it wasn’t due to a physical decline.

That is a possibility. Against Villarreal, we gave it our all near the end. We weren’t hurting as much towards the conclusion of the game against PSG as we were in the first 15 minutes of the second half.”

Ancelotti On the level of the 2021/22 squad

“I think this is a very competitive squad,” he said when asked if the present roster is good enough or if it needs to be strengthened.

The club will consider its options for the future. We’ll aim to assemble the best team possible, as we do every season. We never claimed that this team will win the European Cup. We simply stated that we would be able to compete, like we do every year.”

Ancelotti on Vinicius’ dip in form

Vinicius hasn’t been as effective recently, although Ancelotti attributes this to the team’s overall problems.

“Vinícius Júnior is suffering because of the manner the squad is suffering,” he explained. He had a tumultuous January. We have less games in the next three weeks, so I think he’ll be more productive.”

Ancelotti’s response to criticism

In recent days, there has been a lot of criticism of the coach, and he has claimed that some of it is justified and that some of it isn’t, saying:

“The criticism is fair. I am my own harshest critic. It is incumbent upon me to accept responsibility. Many of your (the media’s) comments are valid and cause me to reflect further, but some of them are ridiculous, such as the claim that I argue with my players. The meaningful criticism is appreciated, but the nonsense is not.”

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