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Ancelotti: “Vinícius will start on the left, but could move around more to escape Araújo”

The coach’s pre-Clásico press conference.


Carlo Ancelotti was in a jokey mood in his pre-Clásico press conference, leading to more than a couple interesting moments. He started off by confirming that Karim Benzema is fit and able to play and then analysed the game as so: “We can’t think we’re going to a party. We need to view Barcelona as a lion and not a cat. We have to prepare well and play well, individually and collectively, defensively and offensively. It’s hard to know how Barcelona will play tomorrow because it’s a different game. They defended deep in the last game, but they had scored early and had a lead to defend. Maybe if we score early then it would be an opposite kind of game. In any case, we’ll play attacking football.”

Ancelotti on helping Vinícius against Araújo

Ronald Araújo has managed to lock down Vinícius in the last few Clásicos, so Ancelotti was asked if he has a plan to help his player this Sunday. He stated: “These two teams know each other well, so we know what to expect. Vinícius is always Vinícius, even if the last few Clasicos have been tougher for him. I’m thinking of putting him on the right, so we’ll see [laughs]. I’m obviously not being serious. But, moving him around could be important. Not having a forward in a fixed position makes it more difficult for the defender. Vinícius will play on the left, but could move around more in this game.”

Ancelotti on the physical condition of the squad

The coach spoke about the squad in general terms and said: “I think since January 22nd [the away game in Bilbao], we’ve done well physically. The data backs that up. We’re confident about what that means for the final three months of the season. We’re also doing well technically and tactically.”

Ancelotti on the evolution of the midfield

He was also asked about his midfielders and if he is surprised that people doubt Toni Kroos and Luka Modrić and how the replacement of Casemiro is going. He said: “Yes, the doubting of those two surprised me because they’re still the best. With replacing Casemiro, Camavinga and Tchouaméni have done a good job between them. Real Madrid have a good future and can replace that legendary player with these two.”

Ancelotti on Militão’s strengths and weaknesses

After Ancelotti claimed a few weeks ago that Éder Militão is the best centre-back in the world right now, he was asked why he thinks that is. The coach responded: “Maybe I won’t be taken seriously when I say Vinícius is the most decisive player in the world and Militão is the best centre-back in the world, but I genuinely think it’s true. Militão is really quick, really good at one-on-one, really good with the ball and he can head the ball so well. Maybe one defect is that he’s not always 100 percent focused. So, I can’t say that he’s perfect. Oh, and he’s also not so handsome [laughs]!”

Ancelotti on his future

He also spoke about his future and if he might be sacked at the end of the season if he fails to win any major trophies. On that, he said: “I’m convinced we’re going to win something this season, so it’s a moot point. This is something the club has to evaluate. It’s impossible to stay here forever. The club will decide at the end of the season, but I want to continue. For as long as the club wants me here, I’m going to enjoy it, whether they want me here for three months or three years.”

Ancelotti on the Champions League draw

This was Ancelotti’s first appearance in front of the media since the Champions League quarter-finals draw and he was asked about that. He replied: “It’s true that having the second legs at home helped us last season. I don’t know if that’s a disadvantage this time. I think the Bernabéu will help us in the first leg. I don’t think away goals being removed changes too much. We currently have a disadvantage in the Copa del Rey and in LaLiga, but we’re level with everyone who remains in the Champions League.”

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