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Ancelotti: “Arda Güler is depressed because he wants to play”

Italian coach spoke ahead of the game against Valencia

Real Madrid CF v SC Braga: Group C - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 Photo by Cristian Trujillo/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Ahead of Saturday’s clash with Valencia, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media in his pre-match press conference. One of the topics he addressed was the latest injury setback for young midfielder Arda Güler as he said: “Unfortunately it’s happened before the game against Braga, it seemed like nothing but it’s still bothering him. It’s not a serious thing, but he’s depressed because he’s young and wants to play and contribute. It’s a small step back because it’s a setback with the previous injury, but we have the international break to recover.”

Ancelotti on Arda Güler’s future

The coach was asked for more details about the Turkish player’s injury and whether the club were concerned about the series of injuries he has picked up since his arrival. He responded: “The first injury was a torn meniscus which he had from last year. That’s very common when you have meniscus problems because it changes your posture and you can have injuries in your other leg because of that and have muscular injuries. That’s what’s happening to Güler. His future is very beautiful, he’s got a great talent. I understand that he’s disappointed, but it’s a minor injury and I have the experience, when I was 21 I was injured and I came back. Güler’s future is not in doubt and he can recover for after the international break.”

Ancelotti on managing injured players

That led to Ancelotti being asked about how he handles players in such situations, with the Italian giving an honest answer: “I tell him to be calm and relaxed. He has to recover calmly. It’s normal for a player to be affected, he’s come here and he’s new and wants to contribute to the team, and it’s difficult for any player who is injured. You come to Valdebebas and you see your team-mates train and you don’t. It’s understandable that it makes him sad and angry, and that’s why we have so much affection for him. We are in no rush because as I said, his future is here because he has an extraordinary talent.”

Ancelotti on Jude Bellingham’s availability

On the injury front, another doubt is the fitness of Jude Bellingham after he missed the game against Braga with a shoulder injury. Ancelotti provided an update, saying: “We’re looking at what could happen tomorrow, how the player feels. Today he has trained normally and took part in the game, so I think he’s available and unless something strange happens in these last few hours, I think he’ll play.”

Ancelotti on who will be available in goal

Asked who will be second choice in goal, Ancelotti revealed that it will be Fran González supporting Andriy Lunin with Kepa unavailable as he said: “Tomorrow it will be Fran as the second-choice goalkeeper. He trained with us today and has done well. Cañizares is doing very will Castilla too, so we are well covered.”

Ancelotti on Kepa vs Lunin

That eventually led to questions about whether there would be a battle for the starting role in goal upon Kepa’s return, but Ancelotti suggested that such a battle had never gone away, saying: “The debate over goalkeepers is always there. There’s always a debate. When Kepa has played, he’s done very well. When Lunin has been used, he’s done very well. There has to be competition, but we choose for each game, both can have good times and not so good times and the substitute has to be ready.”

Ancelotti on contract renewals

One of the other big headlines this week has been the renewal of contracts of several key players, and Carlo Ancelotti was asked if he was jealous seeing others extend their deals. he replied: “Jealousy of what? That Real Madrid renew the contracts of players? Not at all. We have time to do this and I’m very happy, the future of this club is written with these players. The present, but also the young players who obviously renew because they like to be here.”

Ancelotti on Fede Valverde’s contract renewal

Specifically on Fede Valverde, Ancelotti pointed to the immense quality of the young players in his squad as he said: “I have the luck to work with players who have extraordinary characteristics, whether that’s physical, technical, character, personality. I’m proud to be the coach of Real Madrid, and if the young players progress, that’s good for the club and for them. I think these young players progress because they are very good.”

Ancelotti on Valencia

Turning attention to the game this weekend, Ancelotti reflected on Saturday’s opponents: “We have to continue the good form we’ve had in this period. It’ll be the kind of game I like against a Valencia who are in good form and play well organised and we’ll have to play well to take points.”

Ancelotti on the racist abuse at Mestalla

It will be the first meeting between the teams since the terrible scenes at Mestalla earlier this year, but Ancelotti is not focused on that: “No, we haven’t spoken about it. We’ve spoken about Valencia being a very good team with intensity, that’s all we’ve spoken about. Tomorrow, we’ll try to play the best game we possibly can.”

Ancelotti on Valencia’s statement to fans

Valencia sent a statement to their fans attending the Bernabéu and appeared to point to the coach and criticise him, but Ancelotti was calm about the matter as he said: “The fans who come here have to come here with tranquility to enjoy the game, it will be a beautiful game with two teams who play intense football. Valencia fans who come will come calm and without any issues.”

Ancelotti on the season to date

Assessing the season to date, Ancelotti was positive about the progress made as he explained: “I think that at times we’ve had a very good level offensively and defensively, but we haven’t always had continuity and that’s what we’re doing now so I am quite satisfied. We have improved a lot defensively and have a good attitude, we just need to add consistency.”

Ancelotti on the tactical system

One of the changes has been to the diamond in midfield, which he was keen to analyse in detail as he reflected: “The system is a debate. We’ve changed the system, we have defended with two lines of four which is different to the diamond we had in pre-season. Now, Bellingham is much more on the left. We’ve defended well and had many clean sheets and been solid. Choosing between one system or another with the ball is difficult, sometimes you start with two or three behind the ball, it depends where Rodrygo goes or where Bellingham goes. Without the ball, it’s 4-4-2.”

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