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Ancelotti: “Hazard is ready to play, but his coach prefers other players”

Also spoke about Vinícius and the threat posed by Osasuna

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Santander Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

There is little rest for Real Madrid, as they’ll be back in action on Wednesday night to take on Osasuna at home. Previewing this match and reflecting a little more on the performance in El Clásico, Carlo Ancelotti said on Tuesday that: “We didn’t play a spectacular match, but a practical one [in El Clásico]. Osasuna are a good team who are doing well. They play intense football and defend well, while they’re dangerous in the opposition area. We’ll have to be careful with this match. It could be a complicated one. Rotations are made for different reasons, to give rest, to give minutes to the others and for tactical reasons. For this game, I’ll look at that.”

Vinícius was one of the main stars of El Clásico, even if he didn’t score, and Ancelotti was asked various questions about the man of the moment in this press conference. On Vinícius, he said: “What I like most about Vinicius is he always tries things. He plays with intensity and works hard, doing a lot for the team. He’s intense with the ball, yet still has to improve without the ball, which he can do because he is humble and likes working to get better. He is focused. But, he’s still young so lacks some experience at certain moments of a match. In the Clásico he noticed the fans, but he shouldn’t focus on that.”

Asked if his relationship with Vinícius is like that of a father and son, he dismissed that. “No, I already have two children,” the coach responded.

Ancelotti on man management with this squad

Ancelotti has always been labelled as an excellent man manager, but the Italian has insisted that he doesn’t need to work so much on motivating this group of players. He said: “What I work on least with this squad is the motivational aspect because I have a group who motivate themselves. They are very committed. Football is more positional than before, but individual quality with the ball still stands out more. The offensive side of the game is what I work on less too.”

Ancelotti on the abuse received by Koeman

Having his say on the post-Clásico scenes outside the Camp Nou, Ancelotti said: “I felt bad for Koeman. He shouldn’t have to go through that. Such lack of respect shouldn’t be tolerated. He’s not a coach, he’s a person whose job is a coach. Such lack of respect means we have a problem in society.”

Reflecting further on the job, Ancelotti said: “I like being a coach, but there can be pressure. I once had a coach who told me that being a coach would be the best job in the world if there weren’t matches. But, being a coach is a good job. We’re doing what we like to do. We have to accept criticism, but we can’t stand for the lack of respect we’ve seen in this case. When I was young, I was taught that if you want to be respected then you have to show respect.”

Ancelotti on Hazard’s standing in the squad

Several individual players were discussed in this press conference and Eden Hazard was one of them. On the Belgian, Ancelotti said: “Hazard can play in a 4-3-3 as a wide forward or he can play in a 4-4-2 as an attacking midfielder or just behind. He is ready to play, but the problem is that right now he has a coach who might prefer another player. That can happen in a squad like Real Madrid’s. The important thing is that he stays motivated and works hard in order to earn minutes, which he is doing. His moment will come. I’m convinced he’ll get back to his best this season and play more than he is right now. He has all the qualities needed to play for Real Madrid, from quality to motivation. He just needs to be patient, as sometimes the coach can prefer other players.”

Ancelotti on Bale’s progress

During the press conference, Ancelotti also revealed that Gareth Bale is close to a return. He said: “Bale got the medical all-clear yesterday. He is good and is working individually. I think in one week he’ll start training with the team and then he’ll be ready to play. For him to play before the next international break, the only chance of that is the game against Rayo Vallecano [on November 6th].”

Ancelotti on the return of Mendy

Finally, the last player Ancelotti was asked about was Ferland Mendy. On the Frenchman’s return, he said: “Mendy is an optimal defender, who is quick and who works hard. He has come back well from the injury, but I think he still has some way to go. He usually plays with extraordinary intensity, but right now he’s holding it back a little because of the injury. Little by little, we’ll see the best Mendy again.”