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Ancelotti: “If you plan your squad well in summer, you don’t need the winter market”

Explained why Real Madrid didn’t sign anyone in January, and also previewed the Valencia game.

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

Carlo Ancelotti held a press conference on Wednesday, speaking ahead of the Wednesday night LaLiga Santander match against Valencia. He provided an injury update ahead of the clash with Los Che, stating: “Carvajal and Tchouaméni have recovered well and they’re 100 percent ready to play. Alaba still needs a little time, but could be ready by Sunday. That means that if Camavinga plays then he’d play in that left-back spot.”

Ancelotti on the exit of Gattuso

There was a lot of talk ahead of the previous Real Madrid vs Valencia game about Ancelotti’s relationship with Gennaro Gattuso, but the younger Italian has now left Valencia. On his departure, Ancelotti said: “Normally when a coach leaves, it’s to change a dynamic that wasn’t working. Usually you get a very motivated team. There are no coaches in the world who have never been sacked, as it is part of the job. Well, maybe Pep Guardiola, but if he keeps coaching for many years then a day will also come when he’ll be sacked. I’ve been sacked in countries all over the world, but I’m still here.”

Ancelotti on Real Madrid’s lack of transfer activity

On Real Madrid’s decision not to use the January transfer market, for incomings or outgoings, he said: “We didn’t dip into the winter market because we didn’t need to. If you plan your squad well in summer then you don’t need to use the winter market. When you sign in January it means something has happened, which could be an injury, but we’re fine.”

Ancelotti on the possibility of signing Fran García

It was then put to the coach that Real Madrid did have a significant injury, that of Ferland Mendy, so he was asked if the club considered bringing back Fran García from Rayo Vallecano. To that, the coach said: “That could have been an option. But, there were two reasons not to make that move. One, Mendy can recover quite soon, and, two, we believe it’s good for Fran García to stay with Rayo Vallecano right now to keep gaining experience.”

Ancelotti on covering for the absence of Mendy

As for the period when Mendy will be out, Ancelotti was asked how he’ll cover for the Frenchman with no more natural left-backs in the squad. Camavinga has filled in there the last couple of games, but the Italian pointed out that this was only because of David Alava’s parallel injury. He explained “Camavinga went to left-back because of an emergency, because we didn’t have Alaba at that time. So, Alaba can play there over this period once he’s back. We also have Nacho, who can play in various positions. We have cover there. Camavinga has done well there, but the plan is to make him a great holding midfielder for the future. The fact was able to adapt and play at left-back just shows his intelligence and adaptability.”

Ancelotti on Ceballos replacing Modrić

Discussing Dani Ceballos’ recent performances, Ancelotti was asked if he can be the long-term replacement to Luka Modrić. He replied: “Ceballos has a lot of the same characteristics as Modrić. He likes having the ball, he is very intelligent, he has an optimal physical condition and he has confidence. So yes, he could replace Modrić.”

Ancelotti on the lesser-used players

The coach also discussed the players who haven’t been part of the recent role. On them, he said: “I know my role and my role isn’t to give out minutes to players. My job is to make Real Madrid win matches. Sometimes, unfortunately, some players can’t play as much. I feel bad for them, personally, but this is my job. I’m not the personal trainer of these players, I’m the coach of Real Madrid.”

Ancelotti on the busy schedule

Real Madrid have an intense schedule coming up over these next couple of months and Ancelotti thinks it’s too much. He said: “It’s an incredible schedule, because LaLiga, RFEF, FIFA and UEFA all want to have their competitions. It’s a shame because the players can’t stop and rest. We’re excited and the players are too to fight for everything. This club doesn’t take any matches off and we try to win every competition. But, the schedule is too much and there is a limit.”

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