Real Madrid’s head coach, Carlo Ancelotti, spoke to the press on Friday ahead of their weekend clash against Espanyol. Having had a full week of training, he discussed their preparations for the game and the upcoming fixtures, including the Champions League second leg against Liverpool and the much-anticipated El Clásico against Barcelona.
Ancelotti said, “We had the chance to work in a way we haven’t been able to do for most of the season. We worked tactically, we worked on attack. We now have a big week with tomorrow’s game, the Liverpool second leg, and the Clásico.”
“This is an important point of the season. We want to reach the Barcelona game in good form, which means winning tomorrow and reaching the Champions League quarter-finals.”
Despite Espanyol’s position being 13th on the La Liga table, Ancelotti stated that he is fully aware of their threat the opponent posses.
“We know that Espanyol are fighting for survival and that they’re very motivated. They’ll be solid and well-organized in defence, trying to make the most of Joselu, who is very dangerous.” Ancelotti said, “We need to be focused because it’ll be a difficult game.”
Real Madrid will be without their star striker Karim Benzema, who has been suffering from an ankle injury, but Ancelotti is confident in his replacements, “Rodrygo will start at centre-forward. Rodrygo needs to play where the team needs him, which is sometimes out wide and sometimes in the middle. It’s good that he can play in various positions, and we have to make the most of this.
Another player who has impressed lately is that of young Alvaro Rodriguez. When asked if Alvaro can start in the centre-forward in absence of Benzema, Ancelotti said, “I think Álvaro is prepared. Even if he doesn’t have experience yet, that’s the same with anyone who is starting something new. He has the quality to be in from the first minute.”
Ancelotti also provided an injury update on left-back Ferland Mendy, “Mendy is recovered, and I think he could be ready for the Liverpool game. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Camavinga is a midfielder and, as emergency, he can play at left-back.”
As for the rumors of a potential move for Kylian Mbappé, Ancelotti remained coy, “That’s a question you can ask today, in three days, in a week, in a month, in three months… and it’s a question I’ll never answer.”
Real Madrid’s clash against Espanyol kicks off a busy week for the Spanish giants in the crunch time in the current season, and Ancelotti’s confidence will be vital in ensuring they come out on top in all their fixtures.