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Ancelotti: “When great tennis players have a match point, they take it”

The coach previewed the Espanyol match, in which Real Madrid can seal the title.

Manchester City v Real Madrid Semi Final Leg One - UEFA Champions League Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Real Madrid can clinch the 2021/22 LaLiga Santander title with a draw or victory against Espanyol on Saturday and Carlo Ancelotti wants his squad to take this opportunity to win the league in front of the Bernabéu crowd. Even though the Manchester City second leg is coming up, he and his players are ready for this league game.

Discussing whether or not he should make rotations, the coach said: “After the Manchester City first leg, the players’ focus turned towards Espanyol. Like great tennis players do when they have a match point, we want to finish the job tomorrow. I’ve spoken with the players [who might want to start] and their opinion is important, but not the most important. I have decided. Irrespective of rotations, we have problems in defence and Jesús Vallejo will have to start despite not playing much this season. There are more options in the midfield, where we have fresher players like Eduardo Camavinga and Dani Ceballos. Up top, Marco Asensio is fresher and then we’ll see tomorrow if Karim feels fresh. Benzema and Vinícius could rest, but they could also play if they’re doing well. But, I don’t want to use any fatigued players because that could lead to injury.”

The coach isn’t thinking about celebrations. He stated: “First we have to win and we’re not thinking about celebrations yet. But, if we do win, we’ll celebrate like any team would.”

Ancelotti on winning the five major leagues

When Real Madrid do clinch the title, Ancelotti will become the first ever coach to win the five major European leagues, of LaLiga Santander, Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1. But, he didn’t want to discuss that yet, stating: “I’m superstitious. I’d prefer to speak about that when we’ve won it.”

Ancelotti on Marcelo’s 2021/22 season

Marcelo will likely start against Espanyol and the coach was asked about the left-back’s season so far. He said: “He’s suffered because he hasn’t played much, but he is a fantastic footballer and feels the responsibility of being captain. He has stayed close to the team and is the perfect captain. He’ll become the Real Madrid player with the most titles ever.”

Ancelotti on the support of his son

Asked about his son Davide’s role in the success of this season, Ancelotti replied: “Davide is a very competent and serious assistant. He’s obviously my son, so it’s hard to talk about him. But, he’s here because he is competent. He can be a very good coach for the future. There are others too, as we also have Francesco Mauri as an assistant and Luis Llopis with the goalkeepers and Antonio Pintus working on fitness.”

Ancelotti on telling the truth in press conferences

One of the more interesting questions of the press conference saw Ancelotti asked if coaches do or should always tell the truth in press conferences. He replied: “Coaches can’t tell the whole truth in press conferences and that’s fine. For us, we’re just thinking about two things. Winning tomorrow and winning on Wednesday.”

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