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Ancelotti: “I don’t have to motivate the players vs Chelsea, but I’ll have to push them more vs Getafe”

The coach wants his players to focus on this weekend’s LaLiga game.

Real Madrid CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid have a LaLiga Santander match against Getafe on Saturday night, sandwiched in between the two legs of the Champions League tie against Chelsea. For Carlo Ancelotti, the three points on offer this Saturday are also vitally important and he will try to ensure his squad is sufficiently motivated to get the job done against the side from southern Madrid.

On the preparations for the Getafe match, Ancelotti said in his Friday press conference that: “Obviously we haven’t fully recovered yet physically, but we have another day until the game. As well as the physical element, the mental aspect is a lot more difficult. You don’t have to say anything to motivate the players to focus against Chelsea, and you can just focus on tactics, but here you have to push a little more to ensure the players are as focused and motivated as they need to be. This team beat us in January, remember, so we must respect them. It’s an important one for the title race, so we want three more points.”

The coach explained that there are only two injuries at the moment, those of Luka Jović and Eden Hazard. Ferland Mendy missed training on Friday, but he doesn’t have an injury, with the coach saying: “Mendy didn’t train today since he was still fatigued after the midweek game. So, we preferred to let him do individual work in the pool and the gym. He doesn’t have any injury. We’ll look at it tomorrow to see if he can play that match or if he is still too fatigued. He’ll be ready for Tuesday’s game. The only injuries are Jović with his ankle injury and Eden Hazard after his operation. The work all the medical team and fitness coaches have done has been optimal.”

Ancelotti on the 2021/22 season so far

Asked to analyse the season up to this point, the coach explained that he is satisfied but that there is still a long way to go. He stated: “Could we have done more? I don’t know. Could this season have been worse? Yes. We’re arriving at the business end of the season in a good position. We’ve already baked the base of the cake, now we just need to add the cherry on top.”

There has been criticism along the way, but the Italian explained that he doesn’t mind that, telling the press: “You have to accept criticism more when you’re the coach of Real Madrid, but this for me is the best place in the world to be coach. So, you have to accept that you might be criticised. I don’t mind that. The problem is when you’re criticised and not even at a big club like Real Madrid. I think the club will evaluate the work we’ve done at the end of the season.”

Ancelotti on the Benzema and Van Basten comparisons

Karim Benzema is the man of the moment and the coach was asked about the in-form striker and if he sees similarities to Marco van Basten. He was also asked how the potential arrivals of Kylian Mbappé and Erling Haaland might affect Benzema. On that, Van Basten’s former teammate said: “Benzema’s career has been a long one in which he gets better every year. He has always been good, but now his role as a leader has grown. He is and will be one of the most important players at the club, no matter the teammates he has. If I have to compare him to anyone else, it’s hard. You’ve compared him to Van Basten and I think both Van Basten and Karim would appreciate that.”

Ancelotti on Ceballos’ lack of minutes

Discussing Dani Ceballos and the fact that he is usually only given the final few minutes of a match, if that, Ancelotti said: “Ceballos hasn’t had the minutes that he has deserved. He is training really well, so it makes me sad that I haven’t been able to given him more playing time. Hopefully he can play more in the coming games.”

Ancelotti on the 4-3-3

With Fede Valverde playing so well against Chelsea, Ancelotti was asked if it’s time to abandon the 4-3-3 system that has been used all season. He dismissed that idea, explaining: “This is the system we’ll use because of the players we have. You might say Valverde played as a wing-back, but the system is almost the same. The three midfielders are too important to change. Valverde’s performance against Chelsea stands out and I agree with that, but the other three midfielders were very good at finding space and bringing the ball out from the back. Then we have Vinícius who likes to play on the wing, so to play a 4-4-2 would mean giving Vinícius more defensive work.”

Ancelotti on whether Bale will play at the Bernabéu again

Gareth Bale’s last eight matches for Real Madrid have all come away from the Bernabéu. Asked if the Welshman will and deserves a final outing at that stadium, the Italian said: “Bale is doing well and in a good physical condition. He showed that with his national team and wants to show that here. He wants to end things well at the club. He deserves to have a farewell at the Bernabéu. With his performances, goals and titles, he is part of the history of Real Madrid.”