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Ancelotti: "Zidane is a big help, but I think the coach is doing a good job too"

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Ancelotti discussed the keys to the team's recent success, Isco's situation, Zidane's role and he also confirmed Di María and Carvajal will start tomorrow. That said, he talked more about Barcelona than he did about Granada. At least he got a big laugh in one of his answers!

David Ramos

First, Carlo Ancelotti addressed the controversy surrounding FC Barcelona's Sandro Rosell and his decision to step down from his job as team president: "I saw that and the only thing I have to say about it is that we all have to respect the decision from any club, including Barcelona."

On having the chance to sleep as the first seed in La Liga if they Real Madrid beats Granada: "It's a good feeling. We're doing things right. The players are improving. We have a great chance tomorrow but every game is hard and we have to prepare well for it. We can't think about this and that. We have to focus on the game and trying to win it."

Once again, Ancelotti was asked to talk about Rosell and whether or not he thinks Barcelona's players will be affected by this whole mess: "I don't like to talk about Barcelona's players, whether it affects them or not. Right now, I have to focus on my players and that's it. I think Barcelona is a great team and we'll have to fight against them until the last game of the season."

About his opponent tomorrow: "Granada is doing things right, especially in the last few games. They've gotten great results and they're in great condition now. We have to be very careful because every team that visits Bernabéu try to do something specie. Granada is living a great moment and we have to consider this for tomorrow's game."

Carletto talked about the improvement of the team's defence: "I like to think we've improved thanks to a collective effort, that the players have worked well. That they've found balance through recovering the ball after we lose it but a lot of things are important, like the role of our midfielders or the great moment of our defenders."

On the key to the team's current streak of eight consecutive wins and six games with a clean sheet: "After Christmas, the team tried to be more solid on defence. We are more solid now even on offence. We've scored a lot of goals and we can score more. Thankfully, improving on defence didn't affect our attack."

Asked if he thinks the players might be affected by the results of Barcelona or Atlético: "Like I said, we have to worry about ourselves. The calendar gives us a chance to be leaders, even if it's for just one night."

On the team's 4-3-3 system and Isco's role: "Isco hasn't had a lot of chances to play lately because this system doesn't offer him the possibility to play very often. He's played as a fake nine but this is not the final solution. I trust this system. Maybe it'll change soon. Isco has proved that he can play well as an attacking midfielder. The 4-2-3-1 system has won a lot of games for us too."

Ancelotti also confirmed Ángel Di María will start tomorrow, together with Xabi Alonso and Luka Modric: "Di María will start tomorrow because he's playing well. I think those three might start tomorrow."

On Varane's condition and if he'll start Dani Carvajal or Álvaro Arbeloa: "Varane started to train with the team this week. He's working well, without a problem but he still needs to work with the team more. Maybe we'll get him on the bench for the game against Bilbao next week. Carvajal will start tomorrow."

Ancelotti talked about the reasons of the team's good moment: "First, the team's play is a lot more natural now. It's also very important to have a guy like Alonso back. Guys like Ramos recovering their good condition is important too.

He added Zidane as one of those reasons: "The role of Zidane is key too. It's a big help for me. He's charismatic and has a voice with the players. His role with our strikers and especially the young ones, like Morata or Jesé, is proving to be successful, like his influence on Benzema. That said, I think the coach is also doing a good job." (That answer got a big laugh, by the way).

This is Di María's first game in Bernabéu after being booed off the pitch while also providing a controversial gesture while being replaced. Carletto isn't worried about it: "The player doesn't have any problem. If he plays well, he gets the applause. If he doesn't, he gets booed and the coach takes him out." (That one also got a few, discrete laughs)

Asked about Isco (AGAIN) and whether he will play tomorrow: "Like I said, Di María will start tomorrow. Isco played a lot in the preseason. He's played well but I don't think acting as a fake nine is the best spot for him."

On his idea of using both Arbeloa and Carvajal: "I trust both. This rotation is proving to be helpful, especially regarding the physical condition of the players. We ask them to do a lot both on defence and on offence."

Asked about his take on the team's success on strategic plays: "I'm happy. I know this world very well. We have to be careful. In some games you can take a step forward and in some, your take a step backwards. Since we've done things well for a while now, it's important for the team's confidence."

Finally, he talked about the reputation of French players, whether or not they were "lazy": "That's the culture of the country. I don't think they're lazy. Every country has it's own way of working, England, Italy, France. You just have to push some of them a bit harder. That's not a critique."