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Ancelotti: “This Clásico won’t be affected by last year’s 4-0 nor by Barça’s draw with Inter”

The coach’s pre-Clásico press conference.

Training and press conference of Real Madrid Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

It’s El Clásico weekend and Carlo Ancelotti held his pre-match press conference on Saturday, speaking to the media about what he expects from Barcelona. He started off by making clear that this should be a very different game to the 4-0 thrashing suffered in the last Clásico, stating: “You prepare for this game like you do any other, but we know how important this game is for everyone and for the fans. You do have to add the emotional aspect, with the pressure and the nerves. My players know this opponent very well and I don’t think last year’s result is going to affect this game. It’s a new year.”

Ancelotti on Barcelona’s Champions League struggles

The Italian also stated that he doesn’t think Barcelona’s midweek 3-3 draw with Inter will have a bearing on El Clásico. He said: “Barcelona are doing very well in LaLiga, winning every game after drawing the first one. It’s just in the Champions League that they’ve had problems, and you can have problems in that competition. I think we play differently to Inter. But, Inter were brave and never gave up. They were very clinical. But, I don’t think there’s anything from that game that can help us tomorrow. I think it’ll be a different game.”

Ancelotti on Courtois and Rüdiger

The coach also provided an injury update and explained that Thibaut Courtois is ruled out, while Antonio Rüdiger is fine even though he has a protective mask. Ancelotti said: “Courtois is doing quite well, but he has trained little and he is ruled out for this game. The important thing is that he has recovered from his problem and now he just needs training sessions. Rüdiger is good and the mask is just to stop the wound from opening again. But, he is a warrior and he is excited. He brings a great mentality. I’d say he’s a very pessimistic defender.”

Ancelotti on styles of play

The coach was asked about the fact that Barcelona are so wedded to one style of play and also about the Modrić in a false nine tactic that he invented for the 4-0 Clásico. He said: “Barcelona have a style that they like. I respect that. That style has given them success. Maybe other clubs have a different idea. I think having just one style isn’t the best way because players can change. I just want players to be comfortable with whatever style we play. It’s true that I tried to invent something last year, but football isn’t about inventing and I suffered a big loss. We have to remember football was invented many years ago.”

Ancelotti on finishing games strong

When it was put to Ancelotti that Barcelona start first halves well and that Real Madrid finish second halves well, he said: “These are characteristics of the two teams that we need to keep in mind. They do start first halves well and we finish second halves well. I don’t know if this will happen in this game, but we’re aware of this.”

Ancelotti on the importance of Rodrygo

There is a good chance that Rodrygo will be left out the starting line-up and Ancelotti was asked about the Brazilian’s importance, replying: “When I think of Rodrygo I think of a great player. He has had more minutes this season and is doing well. He can play in any of the positions across the front line, which is an advantage for him.”

Ancelotti on Benzema’s progress

Asked how Karim Benzema is doing as he looks to get back to his best, Ancelotti said: “I think he is doing a lot better this week and I’m convinced we’ll see the Benzema of always tomorrow.”

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