Speaking ahead of their Champions League clash against Liverpool, Carlo Ancelotti insisted that Real Madrid are not scared of their English opponents.
Real Madrid have been on red-hot form since their consecutive league defeats and recently thrashed both Liverpool and arch-rivals Barcelona before consolidating their spot on the top of the La Liga table. The Italian manager insisted that he tried to incorporate the same style of football last year and claimed that he is not scared of Liverpool visiting Santiago Bernabeu.
“It’s true that we’re playing well, we know how important every match is. We’re not thinking about the match against Liverpool, every match is a test and a chance to either improve or take a step back. But we are not afraid because I have a very professional team. I have to admit and make clear that we tried to play this way last year also. I’m confident with this team.”
Speaking about the squad, the Italian confirmed that Bale has recovered from his injury but declined to comment on his presence in the starting eleven tomorrow. Coentrao, Carvajal, Jese, Illarramendi and Khedira remain unavailable for selection which means that a Modric-Kroos-Isco partnership is expected.
“Bale is fine, Fàbio, Jesé and Carvajal are not available. Illarramendi and Khedira aren’t either, but Bale is alright. I will decide his presence in the Starting XI tomorrow. We don’t know yet when Jesé will come back with the squad. Coentrao will go through some individual work this week. We will certainly use him when he comes back, just like last year.”
Elaborating on Carvajal’s injury, the manager insisted that the right-back only suffered a minor injury and will recover with the international break coming up soon.
“Carvajal had a minor injury, it’s nothing serious and he will be ready to go in a week. He will be able to rest during the FIFA break.”
Speaking about the dressing room and the importance of Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid, Ancelotti said that the Portuguese is keen on trying to set up his team-mates and hence has a few assists to his name this season.
“The atmosphere inside the dressing room is very good, and that’s why he’s been trying to get some assists lately, just like James likes to pass the ball to Benzema or Benzema likes to give assists to Cristiano.”
The manager also heaped praise on Isco who has made the most of Bale’s injury. Initially seen as Ozil’s replacement last season, Isco has played second fiddle in the squad and is currently making up for Bale’s absence in the starting eleven. He performed exceedingly well against Liverpool and Barcelona and continued his form against Granada where he received a standing ovation.
“Isco is playing very well. He has a good image because he’s professional and has a brilliant technique, that’s why every football fan wants to see Isco play.”
Talking about his own importance at Santiago Bernabeu, the Italian spoke about his contract extension at Real Madrid but expressed no concern over the matter.
“We still have some time to talk about this, if the club are happy with me, there will be no problem!”
Having won the double in his first season itself, Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid have had a brilliant start to the 2014-15 season and if things indeed go according to plan, the Italian will be staying put at Santiago Bernabeu for sometime to come.