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Ancelotti: “I don’t have an A team and a B team”

The coach spoke ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League match.

Real Madrid CF v Villarreal CF - La Liga Santander Photo by DAX Images/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media on Monday afternoon, ahead of Real Madrid’s first home Champions League match of the season. The Italian is excited for the Champions League to return to the stadium with the match against Sheriff Tiraspol, saying: “It’ll be really nice to see the Champions League back at the Bernabéu. I have good memories of that. We’re playing a team who are doing things well and must be careful. We must be focused and we need the three points.”

Despite Real Madrid’s positive start to the season, there was some criticism directed Ancelotti’s way after the draw with Villarreal, especially over his line-up. To that and the allegation that he over-rotated, he responded: “Even if I might think a line-up was wrong, I wouldn’t say so publicly. I don’t have an A team and a B team. I just have to pick the players for each match. It’s good that we have many players in midfield, for example, with Modrić, Casemiro, Kroos, Fede Valverde, Isco, Asensio, Camavinga, etc. They’ll all be useful at some point or another. I’ve rarely had a midfield with this quality.”

Staying on the midfield, Ancelotti was asked about Luka Modrić after substituting off the Croatian on Saturday even when the scores were still level. On that, he said: “I’m happy with him and how he has returned from his injury. When you take a player off in the 75th minute, that doesn’t always mean the player hasn’t done well. We wanted more energy, but I didn’t change him because he was playing poorly or anything. Remember, he is 36 years of age. Playing 10 minutes less could be the difference between avoiding a future physical issue or not.”

Ancelotti on the right-back problem

One of the other interesting talking points concerned the right-back spot. Dani Carvajal is injured and Ancelotti has already used Lucas Vázquez, Nacho and Fede Valverde there to cover for the starter. Asked what his plan is, Ancelotti said: “We have had some problems at the back and have also had injuries at left-back. We have changed the position, keeping in the mind the tactical aspect. When you have a winger like Rodrygo, you don’t need a right-back who gets forward. You need one who stays in position. That has hurt Lucas, for example, when the winger has been Rodrygo. If I need a right-back who can also go forward, then Lucas is a better option for that.”