Ancelotti: "If he's healthy, Bale will play against Athletic"

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

Carlo Ancelotti said that if healthy, Gareth Bale will return to the starting line up next Sunday to face Athletic. If not, then Jesé will take his place.

On the team's overall performance: "This system gives us confidence. We have a nice defensive balance and the entire team works to recover the ball. We started very well, we scored soon and we controlled the game. Everyone did a good job. The improvement of our defenders also helps to keep a clean sheet. Pepe, Nacho, Ramos...Coentrão, who hasn't played in a while was great tonight. Illarramendi is starting to gain some confidence and Isco played well too."

Carletto was asked about his next La Liga match against Athletic de Bilbao: "It's not easy to play in San Mamés for any team. Barcelona lost there. We have confidence and the hope of being able to win in San Mamés."

The Italian coach also discussed Casillas's record: "The individual record is fantastic, but the entire team deserves credit. That's a team record."

About the decision of using Pepe instead of Marcelo to replace an injured Coentrão: "The whole world thought I'd be using Marcelo after Coentrão was injured. I used Pepe to cover set pieces."

On Gareth Bale's odds of playing this weekend: "If Bale is fine he will play in San Mamés. If not, then Jesé will take his place. Right now he's a very dangerous player."

He talked about Coentrão once again: "He showed a great attitude. He's got nice physical condition and he's going to fight for that spot on the left side."

On his team's attitude: "The game flows a lot better now. The players are good professionals that train well every day. I've never had a problem with any player."

Carlo Ancelotti also has the fatigue factor in mind: "The players have a good physical condition. The best way to train is by playing. I've rotated players to give them some rest. We didn't have any problem in January and hopefully February will be just as good."

Finally, he discussed the tight schedule teams face nowadays: "You used to have a month to prepare games. Now you only have a week."

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