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Ancelotti: “People say a transition needs to start next season, but it already started before I arrived”

The coach further reflected on the Manchester City defeat.

Manchester City FC v Real Madrid: Semi-Final First Leg - UEFA Champions League Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti was back in front of the media on Saturday, with the Italian discussing several topics and also previewing Sunday’s trip to face Valencia in LaLiga. On that game, he said: “Tomorrow is an opportunity to play well. We want to finish the season in a strong way. It won’t be an easy game tomorrow, far from it, as we’re facing a team fighting to avoid relegation. After a defeat, I’m even more motivated to do things well. I think everyone has recovered well. Everyone is doing well physically. So, I’ll put the best line-up I can. In terms of rotations, I’ll need to think more about rotations for the upcoming midweek game than for this one, because we’ll have less recovery time for that one.”

Ancelotti on the City defeat

The coach was also asked for another evaluation of the Manchester City defeat, having had a few more days to think about it. He said: “The last game was obviously really bad, but the season has been a good season. Overall, these have been two unforgettable seasons. We’re not happy with our showing this season in LaLiga, but we’ve won three trophies and gone deep in the Champions League. We didn’t get knocked out in the last 16. We didn’t get knocked out in the groups.”

Ancelotti on the criticism of Benzema

Asked about Karim Benzema and the criticism of the Frenchman’s recent performances, the coach said: “I don’t understand the doubts about Benzema. You can have a bad game. He wasn’t the only one who had a bad game. He is a legend of this club.”

Ancelotti on the transfer window

The Italian was also asked several questions about the transfer market, but didn’t want to talk about that. He replied: “We have to wait before talking about next season. This isn’t the right time. Of course we are evaluating what happened in Wednesday’s game, in the season as a whole and over these past two seasons.”

Ancelotti on his future and conversation with Florentino Pérez

The coach was asked if Florentino Pérez and the club directors have guaranteed that he’ll stay on next season. To that, he said: “Yes. Everyone knows my situation. I have a contract until June 30th 2024 and I want to complete it. I spoke with him yesterday, as we do almost every week. We had a meeting and he expressed his support. We spoke about Wednesday’s game, as well as the season as a whole and the last two seasons.”

Ancelotti on the transition at Real Madrid

Asked about the transition from the three-peat squad to the new Real Madrid, the coach pointed out that this transition is already well under way. He said: “I don’t think the transition comes next season. I think this transition had already started before I arrived. Pieces already left, like Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018. We also lost Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Bale, Isco. All these players were being replaced by young players. We’ve seen how Vinícius has developed, while others like Camavinga and Rodrygo and Militão and Valverde have evolved and become starters. Tchouaméni was a starter in the first half of this season. When people say the transition needs to start next season, I’d point out that it has already started and that it will continue next season. The transition won’t be done until Modrić, Kroos, Benzema, Carvajal and Nacho leave the club.”

Ancelotti on Fede Valverde’s drop in form

Discussing Fede Valverde, who hasn’t been at the same high level since the World Cup, the coach said: “It’s true that he hasn’t been at the level of the first half of the season. But, we have to remember that his level in the first half of the season was spectacular. His level has dropped, and he has had a small issue in his foot that hasn’t allowed him to train 100 percent. Overall, it has been a very positive season. Maybe he couldn’t play at his best on Wednesday, but it was a bad day for everyone. To me, he is still a great midfielder and he’ll make history at this club.”

Ancelotti on the return of Mendy

Finally, the coach discussed Ferland Mendy and was asked how important he can be. He replied: “Of course. Mendy has been very important for us, and he showed in the big games last season how defensively solid he is. Now he has recovered from his injury and I hope he can stay injury-free.”

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