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Ancelotti: “I lose sleep after a defeat like the Sheriff one”

The Italian also gave an injury update and responded to Benzema’s Mbappé comment.

Real Madrid v FC Sheriff: Group D - UEFA Champions League Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Real Madrid and Carlo Ancelotti are looking to bounce back from the Sheriff Tiraspol defeat when they face Espanyol on Sunday, with the coach even revealing that he lost sleep after that disappointing 2-1 loss. Speaking in a press conference on Saturday, the Italian said: “The match against Sheriff hurt our pride and I think we’ll react in this game. We’ll give our all, like we also did against Sheriff. The evaluation of that game was quite simple, as we did well but made some little mistakes and lacked some clinical finishing. Physically, that affects me because I lose sleep as I keep thinking about what happened. That happens to me whenever we don’t win. Emotionally, though, it makes me stronger. All coaches receive criticism, but it’s better to receive it at Real Madrid than to be at another club.”

The fact that Real Madrid suddenly stopped taking their chances might be a concern for some, but not for the coach. On that, he said: “We struggled to score goals in the past two games, when we hadn’t struggled with that before. We need to change that in the coming games. But, that’s football. I said 10 days ago that difficult moments would come, although I don’t even think this situation is that difficult. We need to tackle it with balance and energy.”

Toni Kroos has returned, after coming on for some minutes in midweek, and the coach was asked what the German’s comeback brings to Real Madrid. Ancelotti said: “We’re happy that he’s back. We went slow with the recovery because we wanted him to recover fully and well. He’ll be involved tomorrow and will bring his experience and quality. We all know what a player like Kroos can bring to the team. We took a photo yesterday and I was in the middle with Kroos on my right and Casemiro on my left and I jokingly told them both ‘this is a good midfield, right, if I order you two to do the running?’”

Ancelotti on his use of different systems

Already, Ancelotti’s Real Madrid have used various different systems this season and Ancelotti explained his reasoning for shifting the formation. The coach said: “I think without the ball the most efficient system is a 4-4-2 or at least having two lines of four, while in some matches we’ve had a back line of five. But, playing with five back there makes it a little more complicated to press up front. With the ball, it changes a little. We try to have some players between the lines. With the ball, we never play with four at the back. We play with two, or at most three, whether that’s the two centre-backs or with a full-back there.”

Ancelotti on his injured players

During the press conference, Ancelotti also gave an update on some of his injured players, starting with Ferland Mendy. He stated: “He’s quite good and started to train with the team. But, we didn’t up the workload too much because we want to make the most of the international break to get him into optimal condition. I think he’ll be able to play from the first match after the international break. It’s the same situation with Dani Carvajal and Marcelo. We’ll make the most of the break and they’ll be back afterwards.”

Ancelotti on Atlético vs Barcelona

Before Espanyol vs Real Madrid, the other big match of LaLiga Santander Matchday 8 is Saturday night’s clash at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona. Asked what result he’d prefer from that game, the Italian said: “I think we’ll fight against both in the title race, as they’re both good. Right now Atletico are better, but I think that’ll be an equal match between them. I’ll watch it, like all football fans. But, we need to think about our own game.”

With Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman under so much pressure, there is a lot of talk about his potential replacement and Guti joked on Friday about taking over, with Ancelotti similarly asked in this press conference if he could ever see himself in charge at the Camp Nou. He replied, chuckling: “Ooh hoo. With respect to the great club that is Barcelona, I can’t go against my history. Having been coach of Real Madrid, I can’t go against that.”

Ancelotti on Benzema’s Mbappe comment

Karim Benzema has stated in an interview with L’Equipe that he expects Kylian Mbappé to join Real Madrid sooner or later and Ancelotti was asked about this. He gave a short sarcastic answer, saying: “Great. I hope Mbappe enjoys it because Real Madrid are the biggest club in the world.”

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