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Ancelotti: “I’m an old school coach who gives freedom to creativity”

Carlo Ancelotti spoke ahead of the fixture against Las Palmas

Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Ahead of the midweek LaLiga fixture against Las Palmas at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Carlo Ancelotti faced the media, including Kiyan Sobhani of Managing Madrid, at Valdebebas. As part of his press conference, he addressed his style, saying: “I think the mistake that new generation coaches make is that they give too much information about the system on the ball. I think old school coaches like me prefer not to give too much information and allow freedom for creativity. I give instructions off the ball. It depends on the creativity of the player, if Vinícius or Rodrygo feels creative on the ball, I’m not going to tell him what to do. It’s an interpretation of how to play on the ball and I don’t want to remove anybody’s creativity.”

Ancelotti on criticism

Following Sunday’s defeat to Atlético, Ancelotti has come in for criticism regarding his choices and tactics and he reflected upon that and how it affected him and his team. He gave a lengthy, analytical answer, saying: “Criticism is part of my job, of the coach’s job. When you manage Real Madrid and things don’t go well, they appear. It’s logical. It doesn’t affect me. That said, after that I have to evaluate and self reflect on what we did well, which is a lot, and what we did wrong, which is some things against Atlético. We have to focus on that. My evaluation is different to what everyone else might think. I hear a lot of things but I know exactly what we have to do and so do the players. We know what we need to improve, and we need to carry on doing what we’re doing well to this time, even if it didn’t work out against Atleti. Every system has a weakness. The rhombus system isn’t perfect, it lets us press higher and be more energetic to recover the ball and we’ve done that very well in almost every game. But the weakness is that it leaves you out of position because the interior midfielders can’t recover in time and we need to work on that and with time we will. This team has a lot of experience and is very serious.”

Ancelotti on handling criticism

The coach was keen to point to the team’s good form this season and not to be distracted by one poor result. He insisted: “As I’ve said, public opinion can say what it wants, football is passion for everyone and they all have their ideas and opinions and we have to respect that. I won’t get into that because I have to evaluate things and be balanced. I have to be balanced, and fortunately in my genetics, I’m a balanced person and I’m able to evaluate how things are. It’s not that complicated, we don’t need to question a team that won six out of six after all the problems we had.”

Ancelotti on a possible contract renewal

With Xavi and Diego Simeone having committed their futures to their clubs, Ancelotti was asked if he would like to be offered a renewed contract. He responded: “That’s not a topic for me, everyone knows I’m very happy here. After that, we’ll have time to talk about that, but it’s not the most important thing now because we have a lot of games and are focusing on that.”

Ancelotti on Xabi Alonso

One of the names suggested as a possible replacement is Ancelotti’s former player, Xabi Alonso. Reflecting on the suggestion, Ancelotti said: “I know him, I had Alonso as a player, he had a high level of knowledge of football. He’s doing a good job at Bayer Leverkusen, he’s got the ability. I hope that him, also for Raúl, Arbeloa, also Xabi Alonso, because it’s the top job and I love them. I hope one day they can be Real Madrid coach.”

Ancelotti on early goals

The early stages have been difficult for Real Madrid this season, conceding two against Atlético inside 18 minutes, and Ancelotti addressed that concern by reflecting: “I think starting the game we need to have a different attitude because the early minutes have done us damage too many times.”

Ancelotti on changes against Atlético

Ancelotti was asked if he felt that he made too many changes to the side against Atlético, but instead insisted that he did not feel that there were many changes to the system. He explained: “I think Luka can play in that position without any problem. Bellingham only changed the defensive duties, he had the same offensive role to break between the lines and attack from deep. I don’t think much changed, only Luka’s position to be a playmaker, we played him as a 10 many times last year in a 4-4-1-1.”

Ancelotti on the goals conceded against Atleti

When pushed on the goals conceded at the Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, Ancelotti added: “I think we could have avoided them. We have to be more clinical in transition and position ourselves better when crosses come in.”

Ancelotti on rotations

El Chiringuito asked Ancelotti for his thoughts on criticism of Ancelotti’s reluctance to rotate Toni Kroos and Luka Modrić, but Ancelotti reacted in good humour: “From all the criticism I receive, I don’t know what criticism I’ve had. What has it been?”

As Edu Aguirre explained the criticism, Ancelotti reacted: “Only that? It doesn’t annoy me. What can I say? As I said, everyone can have the opinion that they think. It’s my job to be balanced. It’s not true that I don’t dare to rest them, here every game is important. In this period, Modric and Kroos haven’t played much, when they’ve come on and when they’ve started. If I had to answer every criticism, I’d be here for a long time.”

Ancelotti on Toni Kroos and Luka Modrić

The coach was asked if the duo were no longer well suited to the current system, which Ancelotti denied categorically: “No. They can play in any system in the world. Because of the quality, knowledge and experience they have, they would have no problem playing in any scheme.”

Ancelotti on the team’s system

Once again, the tactical system was questioned and Ancelotti repeated his insistence that the system is a good option for Real Madrid. He explained: “The system has factors for and against. We lose a bit of control on the wings. There are many things we’ve done well with this system, we press well with the two up front pressing the defence, and Bellingham fits in well. The weakness is what we have to work on and it came out in pre-season and then the season started well and we did it well, conceding only three goals in the first six games. Against Atlético, we forgot a little bit of what we have to do.”

Ancelotti on the defeat against Atlético

When asked where the team went wrong, Ancelotti looked to point to the early stages, saying: “I think the game was conditioned by the first two goals conceded, it made it much more complicated. We tried, especially the end of the first half where we played very well and could have equalised. My evaluation is that mistakes cost us too much.”

Ancelotti on Kepa

As the analysis of Sunday’s defeat continued, Ancelotti was also asked about his goalkeeper. He said: “Kepa is a great player and I think he’s adapting and doing very well. The three goals conceded is a problem for everyone, we all have to do our jobs a little better. I don’t like to point anyone out, especially Kepa because there wasn’t anything he could do about any of the goals.”

Ancelotti on injuries

Ancelotti also gave an update on the current injury situation with several players now back in training. He explained: “All of them are available. That’s great news because there have been a lot of players out. Carvajal, Mendy, Ceballos, Vinícius, Güler, it’s good. We have to decide how or when to give them minutes to all of them.”

Ancelotti on Arda Güler

With a possible debut for Arda Güler coming up, Ancelotti went into more detail on the Turkish player, saying: “Güler is available, he’s good and recovered well. He needs to get match fit with minutes. He needs to adjust to the way we play and get to know his team-mates. What he’s shown in this little time he’s been with us is that he’s an extraordinary talent. That’s his genetics.”

Ancelotti on Las Palmas

Ancelotti was also quizzed on what he expects on Wednesday, against a team with an impressive defensive record. He analysed: “Every team has its characteristics and Las Palmas plays good football. They have quality. We’re thinking about getting back to winning ways, about reacting quickly after what happened on Sunday”.

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