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Ancelotti: “Bellingham is the best option to play No.10, but Nico Paz, Modrić, Rodrygo and Güler can also play there”

The coach spoke after the first game of pre-season.

Real Madrid v AC Milan - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Real Madrid just had their first game of pre-season, so Carlo Ancelotti has held his first post-match press conference of the campaign. Speaking after the 3-2 comeback win over AC Milan, the Italian discussed several aspects of the win, especially the role of Jude Bellingham.

Ancelotti on Bellingham and the diamond

The coach was asked several questions about the 4-4-2 diamond formation and Bellingham’s role as the attacking tip of that diamond. On this, Ancelotti said: “Bellingham is a fantastic player, a complete midfielder who brings intensity to matches and who also moves well without the ball. He’s different to the other midfielders we have, able to find the free spaces. If we play the system that we played tonight, he’d be the No.10. If we we play 4-3-3, maybe he can play left midfield or right midfield, but to try to use his characteristics the best position for him is No.10. Today, Bellingham’s positioning was good and he played good. Of course, it will take some time for the team to get used to his quality, which is extraordinary. His ability to get into the area is something we can make the most of this season. I have a good feeling about this and we’ll keep working. There are things we have to improve on, such as bringing the ball out from the back because today we played a lot centrally and not so much outside.”

Ancelotti on who else could play as No.10

Managing Madrid’s Kiyan Sobhani was in the press room at the Rose Bowl and asked Ancelotti if other players can also play the No.10 role at the tip of the diamond, given that Nico Paz didn’t play in exactly the same way as Bellingham when he replaced the Englishman. To that, the coach said: “Nico Paz replaced Bellingham as a No.10 and after that, at the end, defensively we played 4-4-2 and he went to play as a left winger. Nico Paz can play there, as can Modrić, Rodrygo, Arda Güler. So, these are the options for No.10. Bellingham, as I said, for his quality to go into the box without the ball, is the best option.”

Ancelotti on pressing

Asked about the team’s pressing and how the new system affects that, Ancelotti stated: “We have to try to pressure a bit more high up the pitch. With the diamond, we have a lot of central pressing and less wide pressing and we have to improve on that. We have to press with the full-backs. Personally, this isn’t the best system for defence, but I have to adapt to the characteristics of the players and find a good balance between defence and attack.”

Ancelotti on Brahim Díaz’s performance

Discussing Brahim Díaz and his performance up front alongside Joselu, the Italian said: “Brahim has the quality to play in that position. He plays well between lines and links up well with his teammates. I think we’ll be able to enjoy his football this season.”

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