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Ancelotti: “With Haaland, Manchester City have changed since last year”

The coach previewed the Celta Vigo game, and the Manchester City tie.

Chelsea FC v Real Madrid: Quarterfinal Second Leg - UEFA Champions League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Ahead of Real Madrid’s home game against Celta Vigo on Saturday night, Carlo Ancelotti addressed the media in a press conference on Friday lunchtime. He was asked about the Galician opponent and, specifically, about their rising star Gabri Veiga, who has been linked with a potential transfer to Real Madrid. The coach stated: “Yes, I like him. They have quality players, such as Iago Aspas too. We respect this team a lot. They are organised and have good individual players. We’ll have to be at our best to win.”

Ancelotti on Benzema’s knock

When Benzema was taken off in the Chelsea second leg, it was after he’d suffered a minor knock. In any case, the Frenchman didn’t appear too happy about being withdrawn. When the coach was asked about the No.9, he stated: “Benzema is doing well. He had a knock and we took him off because we felt we could. It didn’t make sense for Benzema to stay on when he had this little issue, when the game was already done. He understands that. It’s all fine as long as you explain these things.”

Ancelotti on rotations

The coach was also asked about his rotations policy and said: “At this stage, rotations are just about resting the players who look more fatigued, to keep everyone in peak physical condition. I have to spread the minutes around to make sure everyone is good for the final stretch of the season.”

Ancelotti on Atlético creeping up on second place

While Real Madrid are nine points back from Barcelona, they’re also only two ahead of Atlético Madrid. Discussing this race for second, the coach said: “Atlético will push for second until the end. They’re playing really well. If there’s no chance to win the title, you still have to fight for second place.”

Ancelotti on the Manchester City semi-final

This was also Ancelotti’s first press conference since learning that Manchester City will be Real Madrid’s semi-final opponents, so he was asked about them. He stated: “I’m not thinking about who is the favourite. We’re both close t the final. I think they have changed a little since last year, but we know they’re still strong and have a striker who scores so many goals in Haaland. They can still transition or keep possession so well. We have to find ways to be better than them.”

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