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Ancelotti: “The English think they have the strongest league, but in Europe they face teams with less money who compete well”

The coach touched on a number of subjects in the pre-Cádiz press conference.

Real Madrid v Chelsea FC: Quarterfinal First Leg - UEFA Champions League Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Cádiz vs Real Madrid is the third-least important of Real Madrid’s three games in a seven-day span, but Carlo Ancelotti wants his team to go out and secure the victory on Saturday night. Speaking in the pre-match press conference ahead of this LaLiga match, he said: “This league fixture comes in between the quarter-final tie, so it’ll be a difficult game. We’ll go to Cádiz with the intention of playing as well as we can. We have to respect the competition and the Real Madrid shirt and play well in every game. If we can’t finish first in the league this season, we need to try to secure second.”

Ancelotti on the absences of Kroos and Vinícius

Real Madrid will travel to Cádiz without Toni Kroos or Vinícius, as they both missed Friday training with minor issues. Explaining more, Ancelotti said: “Vinícius had a muscle overload in the adductor. The same goes for Kroos. It was too big a risk to play either of them tomorrow, regardless of whether we had a big game on Tuesday. I think both will be back for the Chelsea second leg.”

Ancelotti on Benzema fighting for the Pichichi

Benzema won the Pichichi award last season and is just three goals behind leader Robert Lewandowski this season. Asked if trying to help Benzema retain the top scorer prize is a priority, Ancelotti replied: “We’re not thinking about that award. We will manage him by resting him when he’s fatigued, but I don’t think that’ll be the case for tomorrow. He is one of the players who has recovered the best since Wednesday.”

Ancelotti on Hazard playing vs Cádiz

Asked if Eden Hazard could play against Cádiz, the coach responded: “From the start, I’m not sure. But, he’s doing well and yes, he could have minutes.”

Ancelotti on his best central defensive partnership

With the return from injury of David Alaba, Real Madrid have been alternating more in central defence and the coach was asked if Alaba and Militão is his starting duo. To that, he responded: “All our centre-backs have played well since the World Cup. Militão and Rüdiger have played together well and done well. Alaba has now done well too since coming back from injury. No matter who plays at centre-back we’re doing well. We’ve played a slightly higher line in recent games because we’ve tried to press more and this forces the centre-backs to work more because they have more space to control. They’ve all done this well.”

Ancelotti on English pundits dismissing Real Madrid

Just like last season, most English pundits are dismissing the idea of Real Madrid winning the Champions League and are instead picking Manchester City as the favourites. Asked for his thoughts on this, Ancelotti replied: “It doesn’t annoy me. English football has great teams with great players who compete really well. It doesn’t surprise me that the English teams are considered favourites. But, we’re seeing that other European leagues are doing well in the UEFA competitions. We had two Spanish teams in the semi-finals last year. There are three Italian teams in the quarters this year. European football is much more competitive than most say, especially the English who think they have the strongest and most spectacular league. But, the truth is that when they play in Europe they compete against teams with less money but who keep competing, as it the case with Spanish or Italian football.”

Ancelotti on Camavinga’s development

The Italian also spoke about Camavinga and how playing at left-back can help him for a future role as the permanent holding midfield starter. The coach said: “He is progressing really well and learning a lot because he is playing some games in defensive midfield and some games at left-back. You can put him wherever and he doesn’t change much. I’m sure he’ll be a great pivot in the future, but he has to make the most of the games at left-back because he can learn things defensively there that can help him in the future.”

Ancelotti on if he’d swap Vinícius for Haaland

One question saw Ancelotti asked if he would trade Vinícius for Erling Haaland. To that, he replied: “Ha, what a question. They’re two great players. Both clubs are making the most of the player they currently have. We’re making the most of Vinícius, while Guardiola is making the most of Haaland.”

Ancelotti on whether Florentino wants him to stay

The last question was about Ancelotti’s future and he was asked if he thinks Florentino Pérez wants him to stay. He replied: “The president has always been very kind to me. I think the club is calm and shows me affection. I think we’ll be here next season without a doubt, as we’ll respect the contract.”

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