Carlo Ancelotti: Real Madrid’s difficulties are well known, and it’s a bit much to question them

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti attended the pre-match press conference against Las Palmas

After the loss to Atletico Madrid, criticism is now starting to appear about you and Real Madrid, and now the news is that Real Madrid are not going to make any signings this winter, do you think that this season will be another one that requires patience?

I think criticism is part of a coach’s job, especially as Real Madrid, and it’s normal to criticize when there are problems, it doesn’t affect me, I think it’s part of being a Real Madrid manager.

We also self-criticize and summarize, and I think with Atletico, we did a lot of good things and very little bad things actually. We need to focus on our own work.

Of course, we all have different standards of judgment, I know what I have to do, and the players know that we need to make adjustments, but so far we’ve done a good job, and now all we have to do is to stick to what we did well, and improve on what we didn’t do well against Atletico.

Any formation has limitations, that’s normal, just like 4-4-2 has problems, 5-3-2 has problems, there’s no such thing as a perfect formation. Our current formation needs to be more forward and better pressing.

But when the opposition passes, we can get out of sync because it’s hard for our inside forwards to recover in time to cover, like against Atletico Madrid, so hopefully that will see an adjustment.

Today Vinicius, Carvajal and Güler are back in training:

It’s good news that all our players are back in training, we’ve had a lot of injuries recently and now Carvajal, Mendy, Vinicius, Güler are all returning. Tomorrow Güler will be able to play and we’ll see how we distribute the time, whether it’s starting or substituting.

Recently we saw that Barcelona extended the contract of Xavi, so for you you hope to continue working for Real Madrid?

(Laughs) Everyone knows that I’m very happy to be working for Real Madrid, I’m very happy here. But right now it’s not the most important thing, right now everyone is focusing on the game, because there are a lot of games right now and we have a lot of time in the future.

Most of Real Madrid’s goals recently have come in the first 20 minutes, and you’ve mentioned a number of times about the players’ concentration, what do you think you need to do as a coach?

I think it’s something that’s been happening a lot lately, and we need to be focused going into the game because lately the opposition has been causing us a lot of problems in the opening half.

How do you feel about the lack of strikers at Real Madrid right now and the fact that the squad is not as good as it was last season?

Like I said, people can express their opinions because soccer is a sport that everyone follows, the fans, the public opinion, we respect everyone’s opinion, but I don’t get involved in everyone’s opinion, all I can do is that it needs to be balanced, because balance is the most important thing.

Fortunately, I myself am very good at balancing, it’s my character and it’s not a difficult thing to do. Considering the difficulties we’re having right now, which is something we’ve mentioned before, questioning a team like this that has won its first six games, I think it’s a bit much.

Everything seemed to be going well for Real Madrid before the match with Atletico, but why did the team make so many changes to face Atletico? Modric mentioned Bellingham’s position and Bellingham played Joselu’s position?

I think Modric was able to play in Bellingham’s position, Bellingham’s position was to take into account the defense, because we didn’t have many changes in the attack, we needed him to break through and get back, we played Modric as a second striker, a position he’s been playing since last season.

What do you think is the most unsatisfying aspect of the recent criticism directed at you? For example, not daring to bench Modric and Kroos?

I think people can summarize the recent criticisms against me, let’s see what they say about me, I don’t really know what they say myself.

I’ve seen criticisms like “Ancelotti is afraid to bench Modric and Kroos in important games”.

That’s it?

There’s a lot more, but is that what upsets you the most?

No, I’m not offended in any way, like I said, people can express their opinions, I don’t have one, I’m focused on my job. As for “I wouldn’t dare”, I don’t think so, because any game is important, and I don’t think Modric and Kroos have been playing much lately, but whether they’re starting or substituting, I think they’ve contributed a lot. As for whether I should respond to all the criticism here? I don’t think that’s necessary, it’s too much.

After watching the footage of the Madrid derby, what did you think about the most? The lack of strikers? Or the formation?

I think the first two goals we conceded had a big impact on our game, we played well in the last moments of the first half and had a chance to equalize, which is what we are most comfortable with. But after that we made a few mistakes and that affected us a lot.

With Vinicius returning, would you consider going back to the previous 4-3-3 formation, with Vinicius and Valverde on the left and right, for example, and Rodrigo in the middle as a false 9?

I think the problem with the new generation of coaches is that there’s always an overemphasis on questions about positioning, the line of the ball. And I’m a coach of the older generation and I think it affects the creativity of the players.
Of course, you need to give a lot of messages to the players without the ball, because defending without the ball requires a lot of concentration, personal sacrifice and teamwork.

Whereas with the ball, I think it requires more inspiration and creativity from the players. For example, when the team is in a dominant position and Vinicius and Rodrigo are comfortable with the ball, I don’t direct them to run inside because it’s the player’s personal understanding of how to hold the ball and I don’t want to affect the individual player’s creativity.

What do you think about the rumor that Javi Alonso might coach Real Madrid next season? Are you a bit upset about that?

I’ve worked with Alonso before, he’s got a great understanding of soccer, he’s had a good spell at Leverkusen and I think he’s got what it takes. I hope that Alonso, Raul and Avelloa will be successful in the future and become Real Madrid managers. Because they are my acquaintances, I have a good relationship with them and I hope they can coach Real Madrid.

In Spain we have a saying that “no one is immune to disaster”. So with regards to Kepa, it seems that lately it’s hard for him to do anything when the opposition shoots on target, are you worried that this will affect the confidence of the players?

No, I trust Kepa, he’s a solid goalkeeper and I think he’s adapting well at Real Madrid. The goal conceded against Atletico wasn’t his problem alone, the defense is everyone’s business and I don’t like to criticize one player.

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