Tomorrow's match against 13th placed Málaga should go Madrid's way, and while Carletto is already fielding questions about next week's Clásico, we have to admire Ancelotti's insistence that he takes the season one game at a time. This incremental mentality helps keep the players focused but also wards off any extra pressure that could potentially cause the Madrid pressure cooker to burst prematurely. Here's what the gaffer had to say ahead of the match:
The Right Back Shortage
"Arbeloa will be missed, especially for his attitude. We'll have to fix the situation as we did with Khedira's absence. This week I have worked with Nacho at right back. He's a quality player and can get the job done. Sergio Ramos also played right back in the past but that is a last resort."
"We really need to prepare for this match because Málaga has played very well the last few weeks. They've improved. The players know the league won't be decided until the final game of the season."
The Winning Strategy
"We'll have to play with a lot of intensity just as we did against Levante in order to win."
"We are not distracted and are not talking about the Clásico. We're only talking about Málaga and after that we'll only discuss Schalke. We don't have any distraction issues."
Big Minutes for Big Flow?
"I speak with Jesé every day and he understands the situation. He's helped us a lot and will continue doing so, but I don't know how many minutes he'll play. He doesn't ask for anything. I've told all the players that even if they play one minute that could be the most important minute of the season so they need to be ready to play."
Di María Saving Himself for Barcelona because of Yellow Cards
"I don't know exactly what he said. If he said he wants to skip tomorrow's game to save himself for Barca then that surprises me because the important game is the one tomorrow. I'm going to field the best team possible without thinking of who could receive a yellow card. I already know whether he'll play tomorrow, but I won't say. If he can't play against Barcelona, someone else will."
"Our destiny is in our hands. We have a small lead on Barcelona and Atleti but we must play well regardless of our rivals' results. We can only worry about ourselves. We have a positive philosophy in place."
More Disco for Isco?
"We have to acclimate him to the center-mid position. It's different from being an attacking midfielder. You have to work harder on defense. I've told Isco that his situation is similar to that of Seedorf, and he liked the comparison. Isco can help the team in this position. Di María had only played that role for Argentina, but he's adapted very well."