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Ancelotti: “The Mbappé matter is being dealt with by the club, I’m focused on Betis”

Most, but not all, of the questions in the press conference were about Mbappé’s possible arrival.

Levante UD v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Maria Jose Segovia/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media on Friday, ahead of Real Madrid’s trip to face Real Betis this weekend, but the majority of questions were about the possible arrival of Kylian Mbappé. After the first question from RMTV, the next five were about the French forward and asking Ancelotti what he thinks about the possibility of his signing.

Responding to the first of these questions, Ancelotti said: “I expected to be asked about this and I understand, but with a lot of respect I have to say that this is a matter being dealt with by the club. I’m focusing on the match tomorrow. I know it interests everybody, but I can’t say anything more right now.”

As further Mbappé questions were put to him, the Italian added: “Mbappé is a great player, that’s true. We have many great players here and my job is to work so that they can all show the great talent that they have. But, I’m going to have to start repeating myself. I have a fantastic squad and need to focus on that. I’m happy with the squad I have, but if it improves then that’s better for everyone.”

Ancelotti’s thoughts on the Real Betis trip

Discussing Saturday’s match, Ancelotti insisted that Real Madrid must be better defensively than they were against Levante. He said: “Real Betis play well and have a very experienced coach. We have to improve defensively after some mistakes in the second match vs Levante. In attack, we’ve already been playing well. It’s in defence that we have to improve. We don’t work to draw matches. I don’t think the draw against Levante was good, so we have to defend better to try to earn a victory this weekend in tomorrow’s game.”

After previously praising Nacho’s pessimistic outlook on defending, Ancelotti was asked how he’ll cope without the injured Spaniard, to which he said: “The pessimist Nacho isn’t there, but the pessimist Dani Carvajal is back. But, that said, the defensive work is about effort and focus. I think we have quality and everyone can defend. But, it’s about sacrifice. You can’t defend with seven or eight in modern football. You need to defend with 11.”

Ancelotti’s other comments

There were some other interesting comments from the coach during the press conference, such as his response to a question asking if he misused Casemiro during his first spell in charge of Real Madrid. “That’s a good question,” Ancelotti started. “Maybe in my first stint Casemiro could have had more minutes. Maybe I made a mistake then. But, time has passed and now he’s a fundamental part of this team. His contract renewal is very important for us, not just because of his quality but because his skillset is very important in this squad. We have a lot of quality up front, so we need intelligent players further back to cut out counter attacks. With the ball too, he has evolved a lot since his first stint. He is a complete midfielder. I wouldn’t change him for anyone.”

He also insisted that Eden Hazard and Vinícius are still very much in his plans, even if Mbappé were to arrive. On the Belgian and Brazilian, he said: “Hazard is an important player, who is doing well as he comes back from injuries. He’s doing well and he is motivated. He is a very important player for us. Vinícius is a player who can start matches, but so far he has scored three goals coming off the bench. We’ll see if he starts or comes off the bench in Saturday’s match. I really like that he has scored three goals in around an hour of playing time. I think he can score a lot of goals with us, even though he’s not a centre-forward.”