Real Madrid face Sevilla in a mid-week fixture before travelling to face Atletico on Saturday to defend their position at the top of La Liga.
Real Madrid will probably be facing their toughest week of the season so far. They host Sevilla on Wednesday and then travel to face Atletico Madrid on Saturday. With a narrow lead at the top, these two games will prove to be very pivotal in their league campaign this term. Real Madrid are currently one point ahead of Barcelona with a game in hand and a double game-week will bring them level with their rivals in terms of games played.
Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the press ahead of the game against Sevilla and spoke about the importance of the game. He also went on to claim that the game against Sevilla will be more important than the upcoming derby against champions Atletico Madrid.
“The match against Sevilla will pose risks if we aren’t at our best. The most important game is tomorrow’s, not the derby. We can extend our lead over our rivals and I’ll field the best team possible. La Liga will be decided at the end, like it was last season. It’s important to have a lead at this point, but it won’t decide anything.” he said.
He also praised Sevilla and spoke about their ‘dangerous’ playing style.
“Sevilla are a dangerous team because they have quality players and really compete. They’re very well organised, with players who can play on the break and in tight spaces. They attack in numbers and look to press up front. It’s going to be a great fight for fourth place, between Sevilla, Valencia, Villarreal and maybe Málaga. It’ll be a fight right to the end.”
The Real Madrid boss also spoke about his team’s playing style and formation. Ancelotti spoke about how the team fluctuates between the 4-3-3 while attacking and the 4-4-2 while defending with one of the three forwards falling back to defend.
“We try to defend with two banks of four and two forwards, and attack with three forwards. One of the forwards drops in to make the bank of four. That’s what we did against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey, against Bayern and in the Champions League final.”
The Italian also remained calm when speaking about Bale, who has been at the receiving end of the Madrid fans’ criticism lately. Ancelotti, however, was full of praise for the Welshman and insisted that if Bale, Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo are fit, they will always play.
“He’s giving everything to help the team. Last year he did well, and he’s scored in all the finals we’ve played. He’s having a fantastic season and we’re calm because he’s doing very well for the team,” he said, “He can play in every position up front. If he, Cristiano Ronaldo and Benzema are fit, they’ll always play. There’s no doubt about that.”
Real Madrid have been conceding goals early in the game as we saw against Atletico and Real Sociedad. Ancelotti spoke about it, expressing his concern and stressing that they need to improve their concentration at the beginning of the game.
“It isn’t a problem with the work we do, but with our initial mindset and improving our concentration at the beginning. We have to understand that and tomorrow we’ll start differently to the last three games. Even if we have reacted well afterwards, it’s better to start with concentration.”
Real Madrid will have to get positive results against Sevilla and Atletico Madrid under any circumstances if they wish to remain at the top of the league table.