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Ancelotti: “It’s not the end of an era at Real Madrid, it’s the start of a new one”

The coach addressed a number of topics in his Wednesday press conference.

Real Madrid v FC Barcelona - Super Copa de España Photo by Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images

Real Madrid are looking to bounce back from a run of poor form, but it won’t be easy when they go away to Villarreal in the Copa del Rey on Thursday night. Looking ahead to that game and discussing the poor performances of late, Carlo Ancelotti stated: “Everyone thinks Real Madrid is dead, and it’s true that we’re not in a positive run, but the season is long. We’ll get out of this slump. When? I don’t know. I hope it’s tomorrow. We view tomorrow’s game as an opportunity to bounce back from our poor run. It’ll be difficult, but we’re motivated. It’s not so much the overall physical condition, but we’ve had injuries that have affected us, with Tchouaméni, Alaba and Lucas Vázquez. So, we have been affected even more than we expected. We also had a drop-off last January, but we recovered from that. We hope to do the same.”

Ancelotti on Courtois, Benzema and Vinicius Tobias

Asked whether certain specific players will feature against Villarreal, Ancelotti confirmed: “Yes, Courtois and Benzema will play. As for Vinicius Tobias, he’ll be in the squad because we’re missing Carvajal and Lucas Vázquez, while Álvaro Odriozola is only just back from injury. So, he could play tomorrow, yes.”

Ancelotti on the absence of Tchouaméni

Discussing the absence of Aurélien Tchouaméni in more detail, the coach spoke about how he decides whether to play Toni Kroos or Eduardo Camavinga in the middle. He said: “There are some games when we have more control of the game when Kroos can be more useful to bring the ball out. There will be other games where a more defensive profile will be better and, in the absence of Tchouaméni, that can be Camavinga.”

Ancelotti on substituting Camavinga off early

Speaking about Camavinga some more, Ancelotti let slip that the half-time substitution of the Frenchman in the Super Cup semi-final vs Valencia wasn’t actually because of any injury and that it was instead because the midfielder had picked up an early yellow card, something we suggested here. On the youngster’s struggles as a starter, Ancelotti said: “The change against Valencia wasn’t because of his performance, because he’d done well that day. The reason I changed him was to avoid ending up with 10 players. Against Barcelona, he could have done better defensively, but I changed him because we wanted to introduce another attacking player. It’s true that I’ve substituted him off a lot, and I’ve not always been fair with him when I’ve done that.”

Ancelotti on the performances of Kroos and Modrić

The coach also pointed out that Toni Kroos and Luka Modrić shouldn’t be compared right now, explaining: “Toni is doing very well in my view. He’s in great physical condition, as he could rest during the World Cup. With Luka, it’s different. He’s not in optimal condition because of the World Cup, but little by little he can get back to his best level.”

Ancelotti’s on Nacho as a defensive solution

The coach has previously described Nacho as a pessimistic defender and explained that this kind of mentality could help solve the recent defensive issues. He said: “Nacho is a very reliable defender. He played well against Valencia as a left-back and he could bring us something good to our defence. We’ve conceded six goals in this run. Apart from the Alaba handball penalty, we could have done better for the others.”

Ancelotti on Real Madrid’s generational change

Analysing Real Madrid’s squad in a more general sense, Ancelotti stated: “Everyone talks about Modrić, Kroos, Benzema, but this is a young squad overall, with players like Camavinga, Vinícius, Rodrygo, Valverde, Militão, Tchouaméni and those who’ll come in the future. I think this is the start of a cycle at this club. Some players are reaching the end of their careers, but others are coming in. Rather than this being the end of an era, I think it’s the start of a new one.”

Ancelotti on Real Madrid’s academy

Asked why so few players come out of Real Madrid’s academy and hold down a spot in the first-team squad, Ancelotti responded: “It’s hard to say why because I think Real Madrid have a good academy. More players will come out in the future I’m sure. There are times when players come out who can make the first team and other times when not. There is a generation of players born in 2004 that is coming through just now and they’re really good and will be ready for the first team soon.”

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