Speaking ahead of the second leg Copa del Rey tie against Atletico Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti believes that Diego Simeone’s men are the toughest opposition in Europe but claims that Real Madrid know how to win against their city rivals.
Real Madrid lost 2-0 to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Copa del Rey tie and face an uphill struggle as they host Diego Simone and his team at Santiago Bernabeu. Ever since their historic win against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League tie, Real Madrid have found it extremely difficult to beat their city rivals and have lost three of their last encounters. However Carlo Ancelotti believes that his team is ready for the test and will be able to turn the defeicit if they put forward an intense display.
“Atlético are the toughest opposition out there. It’s not just me that thinks that: everyone in Europe feels the same way.”
“This is a derby, a very important match for the fans, and we need to come back. I think the atmosphere will be great and I hope we play well and get to the next round. We know how to play against Atlético, we know each other and we need to play with intensity. They defend really well and it will not be easy to break through, our passes will be the key. We don’t need to change our style, because we’re always aggressive in a meaning that we go hard after every ball.”
Real Madrid were discontent with the referee’s decision in the first leg of the match with some of the players believing that Atletico Madrid got away with murder while Real Madrid were penalised for almost everything. However Ancelotti believes that his players are not concentrating on complaining about the referee and will be looking to make the best of their opportunities at Santiago Bernabeu.
“We need to find the answers against them, so complaining about the referees is not going to help us at all. We need to score but it will also be very important not to rush things, we have 90 minutes to score.”
Gareth Bale has been at the centre of the controversy at Real Madrid with many criticizing the Welshman for being too selfish on the field. Bale missed a good opportunity to pass the ball to Benzema in the first leg of the Copa del Rey tie and then refused to pass the ball to Ronaldo against Valencia, a feat that did not go unnoticed by those at the Bernabeu. However Ancelotti continued to back his winger and dismissed suggestions that Bale’s relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo was fractured.
“It was not easy to pass the ball there. Gareth played a brilliant match, he’s taking care of things and he’s in good condition. I believe he will play a great match. His relationship with Ronaldo is optimal.”
Speaking about Cristiano Ronaldo who recently won the Ballon D’Or, the Italian said that the Portuguese winger is highly motivated to help Real Madrid in their current campaign.
“Individual awards motivate him, this is just another motivation and that’s why from tomorrow on he will work hard for the team but also to win his fourth Ballon d’Or.”
Speaking about Jese, Ancelotti said that the young Spaniard is ready for the match but revealed that Luka Modric will take another month to recover from his injury.
“Jesé is physically ready to start a match. The team is well and ready.”
“Modric came back last Monday, he’s doing work on his own and I think he needs one more month to be back with us. We’ve missed him but the players who have replaced him have done very well. Everybody is talking about Isco and that’s because he’s playing well.”
According to reports, Sergio Ramos and Carvajal are fit to face Atletico Madrid and it will be interesting to see if Real Madrid can prove their mettle against one of the best defence in Europe.