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Ancelotti: “No, there isn’t Viníciusdependence at Real Madrid”

All the quotes from the coach’s Friday press conference.

Athletic Club v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Real Madrid return to LaLiga Santander action on Saturday, when they’ll face Valencia at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. Previewing this game, Ancelotti said in his pre-match press conference that: “Every team is dangerous. Getafe weren’t in the title race, but they also gave us problems. This weekend we’re playing a good team that is well-organised. We want to play like we did before Christmas, so we’re focused on taking the three points. We’re looking to improve against deep-lying teams by moving the ball around quicker and better. We’ve been watching videos on that because there isn’t much time to work on that in training.”

Valencia lead LaLiga Santander in fouls committed with 309, while Real Madrid have committed the third-fewest with 217. Asked if this means Valencia are too tough or Real Madrid too soft, Ancelotti said: “There are many aspects behind that stat. For example, possession stats apply here because if you have less possession then you’ll make less fouls. This stat doesn’t mean much. Valencia do defend well and with intensity, but I like that. I want us to have intensity too.”

Giving an injury update, the Italian revealed that Bale, Mariano and Carvajal are still out with physical issues, while Luka Jović is still out with COVID-19. On Bale, he added: “He has a problem with his back and doesn’t feel quite right. He can’t give 100 percent and we won’t use him until he can.”

Vinícius will be back for this game and the coach was asked if their struggles without him show there has been over reliance on the Brazilian this season. On that, Ancelotti said: “You can’t say there has been Viníciusdependence at Real Madrid. He did very well in the first half of the season and helped us win matches, but so did Benzema, Militão and everyone. To speak this way about one player seems too much, but he has been very important. His dribbling and his role in the counter-attacking has been important, as well as his goals. He is back now and we’re all happy to have him back.”

Ancelotti on the Copa del Rey pairing with Elche

Before Friday’s press conference, the Copa del Rey last 16 draw took place and Real Madrid were paired with Elche. The coach was asked for his thoughts on that draw and said: “The Copa del Rey is an important tournament, so I’m not relaxed about this draw. We’ll have to prepare well for it. We’re away from home, so it’ll be tricky. There are no good or bad draws for me.”

Ancelotti on the Ceballos incident at Alcoyano

Before he was substituted on in Alcoy, Dani Ceballos got angry at the delay in his substitution and Ancelotti was asked about that moment on the touchline. The Italian replied: “He was very keen to play and return. I wanted to give him minutes, even though it wasn’t the best pitch to return after an injury. So, when we were going to put him on, I waited a little longer and he got a little angry. I saw that and told him that he might be right. But, it was all fine in the end. He knows I have confidence in him.”

Ancelotti on Valverde’s lack of prominence

Fede Valverde has had a strange season, one of limited opportunities and one where he hasn’t stood out even when he has been on the pitch. Asked about the midfielder, Ancelotti said: “I think Valverde has a role in this team, sometimes more important and sometimes less. I have a lot of confidence in him. I’m not asking him to do more than what he’s doing, because he’s doing well. If he’s not playing as much as he wants, it’s because of the competition with Casemiro, Modrić and Kroos.”

Ancelotti on Hazard’s form

As is the case in almost every press conference, there was a question about Eden Hazard. With this Friday’s remarks on the Belgian, the coach said: “All he’s lacking is some of the confidence he had before. He is close to his best level and I hope we can see his best performances soon.”

Ancelotti on modern day players

There was a quite unusual and unique question in this press conference, as Ancelotti was asked if he feels footballers nowadays have less respect for their coaches compared to a few decades ago. Answering that, he said: “[Chuckles] That’s not a sporting issue, it’s a social one. The respect that I had for my father isn’t the same as my son for me. The respect I had for my teachers isn’t the same as students with teachers today. These relationships nowadays are different. I think the next generation has less respect for authority.”