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Ancelotti: “We want to start well in this competition that is special for Real Madrid”

The coach previewed Real Madrid’s first European game of 2021/22. 

Real Madrid CF v RC Celta de Vigo - LaLiga Santander Photo by Berengui/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Real Madrid’s Champions League campaign starts on Wednesday night away at Inter and Carlo Ancelotti, as the coach who delivered La Décima, is well aware of how important this tournament is.

Previewing the clash against Inter, the coach said at a press conference that: “We had a good game against Celta Vigo, but tomorrow is another story and another competition. It’s a competition that excites Real Madrid fans. Even though they played this fixture last year too, Inter have a new coach, new system and new motivations. We obviously want to control the game and start this competition well, in a tournament that, as I said, is so special for Real Madrid. I have good memories of the European Cup from when I was a player and as a coach, of course with the Décima.”

Asked who he thinks is the favourite for this season’s Champions League, he couldn’t give a concrete answer, explaining: “It’s hard to say who’s the favourite, before the tournament has even started. We’ll give our all, with this club having won it more than anyone else. There will be other strong teams too. But, for me it’s difficult to say who is favourite right now.”

If Ancelotti wins this Champions League this year then he’ll be the first coach to win it four times, but he could also become the first coach to win the league title in each of Europe’s five major leagues. Asked which challenge is more motivating, he chuckled and said: “I don’t know. It’s a good reason to be motivated. I just wanted to come back to Real Madrid and I get to go to Valdebebas every day to work.”

Ancelotti on Inzaghi’s Inter

Simone Inzaghi is the new coach of Inter and Ancelotti briefly discussed the changes in the Italian team, compared to last year under Antonio Conte. He stated: “Inter have a new structure compared to last year. They’ve even lost some players and signed some new players. They’re doing well so far this season, so I expect this to be a competitive team.”

As for his own team’s tactics, the big question mark hangs over the defence. Yet the Italian believe the problems at the back can be fixed without major changes to the attack, which seems to be functioning. He said: “Yes, we can defend better [without losing strength in attack]. Sometimes we lose balance and are out of position. Even when we have the ball, we need to be better positioned because good positioning with the ball can help you for when you lose it.”

Ancelotti on Vinícius

Vinícius is the man of the moment and Ancelotti has already discussed the Brazilian in depth in multiple press conference this season. He was asked about the young forward again here and responded: “I try to push him in training and ensure he’s focused. Then he has great quality and he is confident and good physically. Maybe the tougher times have given him more motivation for now. The only difference is he is cool in front of goal just now. I hope he keeps that up.”

Ancelotti on Marcelo’s injury

Marcelo won’t be in Milan for this game because of injury, but Ancelotti suggested that he would have started the match had he been available. On the veteran left-back, the coach said: “[He played just a few minutes against Celta Vigo] in order to have him ready for this match. It’s important for matches like this to have experience, which Marcelo has. He had been training very well and he was set to be in the squad, but he picked up a knock. I hope he can recover soon.”