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Ancelotti: “I don’t mind announcing my line-ups extra early, there are no secrets in football”

The coach previewed Tuesday’s second meeting with Shakhtar Donetsk.


Ahead of Real Madrid’s next meeting with Shakhtar Donetsk, Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media and analysed the possibility for rotations and the situation in the group, with Los Blancos able to seal last 16 qualification with a draw or win. He started his press conference by saying: “I’m not sure about the line-up yet. We need to evaluate with the medical staff if any players need rest and today’s training session will be important for this evaluation. It’s very hard to rotate and players can get frustrated, each of them in their own way, but that’s only because they want to play. The players are very respectful when it comes to the decisions I take. I’ve said it before, maybe they end up annoyed at the coach but never at me as a person. If we qualify for the next round tomorrow then that’ll help us stay fresher, but Real Madrid must also take every Champions League game seriously, even if we’re fortunate enough to qualify tomorrow.”

Ancelotti on whether Vinícius and Benzema will start

Asked specifically about whether Vinícius and Benzema will start this game in Poland, the coach said: “Vinícius is one of the players we need to evaluate because he has played all the matches. Benzema is doing good and I’m fairly certain he’ll play tomorrow since he just had rest. Toni Kroos and Ferland Mendy also had rest and should be fresh to play.”

Ancelotti on Courtois’ recovery

The coach provided an injury update on Thibaut Courtois and stated: “He is doing a lot better. We spoke with him before leaving and the plan for him is to return to training on Thursday to be ready for Sunday.”

Ancelotti on Lunin’s performances

In the matches Courtois has missed, Andriy Lunin has come in and done fairly well. The coach said of the young shot-stopper: “He is quite shy and doesn’t speak much, but it’s clear that what’s happening in Ukraine has affected him. We’re there to help him. It’s a very difficult situation for the Ukrainians and for Shakhtar in these games, with lots of travelling. Lunin has done well in these games. He is young and has a lot of quality and these matches have been good for him to gain experience, which is the only thing he lacks right now. He has the quality to be a great goalkeeper.”

Ancelotti on why Real Madrid announce the starting line-ups so early

In this press conference, Ancelotti was asked a question that many Real Madrid fans have been wondering for a year now. It was about the fact that Los Blancos always announce their confirmed starting XI two hours before kick-off, much earlier than most other teams. Asked why this is and if this could give the opposition an advantage, Ancelotti said: “I always passed on the line-up two hours before the game. Maybe the fact that we now have to arrive to the stadiums earlier has changed the schedule a little. I don’t might revealing the line-up early because there are no secrets in football these days.”

Ancelotti on Xavi’s comments after Barcelona vs Celta

It wouldn’t be a Real Madrid press conference without a question about what Xavi has said in his most recent press conference. So, Ancelotti was asked about Xavi’s Sunday night quotes about how sometimes it’s important to win without playing well, after Barça had to hold on against Celta Vigo. Ancelotti replied: “I watched the match and sometimes the emotional and mental aspect is important in football. Winning matches you don’t deserve to means you have character. That’s normal. Matches are more and more even these days. Gone are the days of the easy 5-0s.”

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