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Ancelotti: “Benzema actually has lots of potential replacements”

The coach’s thoughts after the first home game of the season.

Real Madrid v Real Betis Sevilla - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti spoke in the Bernabéu’s new press room following Real Madrid’s 2-1 win over Real Betis on Saturday. He was happy with the win, especially against such a difficult opponent. As he explained: “It was a difficult match where we struggled to win the ball back because Real Betis are good at keeping the ball and playing out from the back. When we had it, we did well, though. Sometimes we lacked the final touch or pass or finish, but we’re content. We tried to find opportunities by attacking out wide. Then, sometimes Rodrygo’s positioning in between the lines also caused them problems. He is a special forward because he can play in all positions.”

Ancelotti on the lack of clean sheets

Real Madrid again conceded a goal, as they’ve done in all their LaLiga matches so far, and the coach was asked about this, responded: “The goal we conceded today was a big mistake, when we weren’t paying enough attention. We do need to improve these situations.”

Ancelotti on replacing Benzema

Karim Benzema hasn’t had the best start to the season and Ancelotti was asked if the Frenchman needs rest and if he’s concerned that there may not be a reliable backup. He said: “It’s not true that he doesn’t have a substitute. There’s Mariano, Hazard, Rodrygo, Asensio can play in that position. Modrić has played there too, although that didn’t go so well! The fact we’re playing every three days now might mean he’ll have to rest some matches. Today he wasn’t so clinical in finishing, but that wasn’t because of anything physical.”

Ancelotti on dropping Modrić and Kroos

Luka Modrić and Toni Kroos are likely to play fewer minutes this season compared to previous years and Ancelotti was asked if it’s difficult to tell them when they’re not starting. He replied: “No, they’re very intelligent and humble. They know they’re still important even without playing every match. Managing them is easier than any other situation in my career. But, it is really hard to pick the line-ups, almost impossible. You have to leave out players who would start for almost any other team in the world.”

Ancelotti on Asensio and the fringe players

Asked about Marco Asensio, who ultimately stayed at the club, and if he and the other fringe players will get minutes at some point, he responded: “It’s hard to say. I know I can count on them. But, I can’t say how many minutes they’ll play this season.”

Ancelotti on the Celtic game

Next up is Celtic away on Tuesday and Ancelotti answered a question in English about that test, against a side who just won their derby against Rangers 4-0. He said: “They play really well, really intense. It’s a fantastic atmosphere and we are pleased to go to Glasgow to play against Celtic. It will be difficult for both teams.”

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