clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ancelotti: “Alaba’s knee sprain doesn’t seem too serious, I hope he can play on Sunday”

Also discussed Benzema’s sentence and Kroos’ great form.

Sheriff Tiraspol vs Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Photo by Constantin Stefan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti discussed a number of topics in his post-match press conference following Real Madrid’s 3-0 victory over Sheriff Tiraspol. The Italian answered more questions than he usually does in the post-match talks, offering several interesting answers.

As usual, he started off with a summary and general analysis of the game, stating: “It was a good and serious performance. We competed well and showed our quality. We were good in defence and didn’t risk much as the start. We’ve kept up our good form. We were very different to the first match we had against this team. We played well and hope to play well again on Sunday. We also want to play well against Inter because we want to win and go through in first.”

Ancelotti then went on to explain each of his substitutions, responding to a question about why he didn’t take off Karim Benzema or Vinícius to give them a rest. “I changed Mendy because he had picked up a yellow, I changed Carvajal because he’d had a long-term injury and I changed Alaba because of his injury tonight. So, then I had two substitutions left and I used one of those to take off Casemiro because he was one booking away from suspension and the other to take off Rodrygo, who’d also just come back from injury. Having him on all the way to the end could have been dangerous. With the others, they were fine. We don’t play until Sunday night and they have time to recover well.”

The coach also revealed that Casemiro’s suspension concern was what they discussed on the sidelines, when the Brazilian could be seen smirking as he talked with the coach. Ancelotti explained: “Yes, we spoke about his possible suspension. He told me he was one booking away from suspension and that he didn’t want to risk collecting that yellow card. He asked if I could take him off. I waited a little and then took him off to avoid that suspension coming for the match against Inter.”

Adding an update on David Alaba’s injury, the coach revealed: “Alaba had a small knee sprain and it doesn’t seem too concerning because he doesn’t have much pain. He’s feeling quite good. We hope he can play on Sunday.”

Ancelotti on Real Madrid’s tactics down the wings

The coach went into some detail when discussing how the full-back, winger and inside midfielders interact with each other on each flank, giving a very interesting answer. He said: “On the right, if Rodrygo stays open then Modrić can play between lines and the full-back can go up. If Rodrygo goes inside then Modrić drops a little deeper. Sometimes these positions have to be controlled more with an inside midfielder and other times with a winger, but it depends also on the characteristics of the players and the opponent. On the left, it’s a little different because Kroos doesn’t go forward as much so if Vinícius stays open then Mendy covers the position between the lines. Today, Rodrygo played very well and created opportunities. He managed the right flank well and combined well with Modrić. He’s just as important to me as the other players, as Vinícius or Asensio.”

Ancelotti on Kroos’ form

Toni Kroos is in incredible form and the coach discussed the German, telling the assembled media: “When Kroos is playing well like this, the coach is calmer. He controls the ball like nobody can. In the last few matches, he has even scored goals. He’s doing very well.”

Ancelotti on Benzema’s court ruling

This Wednesday started with Benzema being found guilty and receiving a suspended prison sentence in France in the Valbuena case, so Ancelotti was asked about this. He responded by saying: “We didn’t have to speak about that because it’s something that we had been talking about for a while. He was calm and focused on his work and he did well, before and in the match.”