Real Madrid will host Levante in the Santiago Bernabéu stadium Sunday for what could be a slower-paced match given Levante's defensive nature. Carlo Ancelotti said his team will need patience in order to unlock a parked Levante:
"Levante is a very strong team that has done well in its last few matches. They have a lot of hope and confidence and we'll need to be patient because it won't be easy to play against their defensive system. We must prepare and play a good match with intensity and courage."
Following his quick assessment of Levante, Carlo Ancelotti responded to questions on the team's morale and the dinner he enjoyed with Zinedine Zidane and his players:
"The relationship between the players and the coaching staff is very important. It's not just a relationship between player and coach. We have an entire team of people who work with us and the most important thing is respect for each other and respect for the work."
"They invited me to dinner and it was a good thing because I can't always pick up the check. Zidane paid and the team appreciated it. Morale is high. We haven't had any problems but we need to remain focused on each and every game."
Carletto also spoke about the temporary loss of right back Arbeloa to a knee injury:
"He picked up a knee injury and our medical staff has decided that he needs to rest for a few days. After a few days off we'll reassess his condition and see if he can resume training. Arbeloa is very important, not only because of his defensive pedigree but also because of his experience and personality. We hope that he'll have a good recovery and return fresh for upcoming games."
The manager also briefly touched on the physical preparation methods employed by his coaching staff:
"The coaching and medical staff are very focused on the recovery of our players. We're not going to increase the training load when a player hasn't recovered well."
Carletto claimed that Pepe suffered from a stomach bug yesterday but resumed training today. He will decided whether Pepe is match-fit tomorrow. The Portuguese international could be rested and replaced by Raphael Varane.
Finally, Ancelotti praised Isco's development and asked for patience as the starlet grows into the demands of central midfield:
"We've been talking about this for one month and basically haven't had many opportunities to work with Isco in this position. He played a few matches and did very well against Schalke, Atletico Madrid and with the national team in this role, so he's getting closer to playing more frequently. I had a similar case with Clarence Seedorf who was an attacking midfielder but sacrificed to become a centre-midfielder and became a key player for AC Milan. Isco can accomplish what Seedorf did because he's ten years younger than Clarence was."