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Ancelotti talks Camavinga, Militao, Vazquez, Carvajal, Mendy after Real Madrid beat Valencia

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Photo by Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images

Real Madrid were once again far from their best against Valencia in the semifinal of the Spanish Super Cup. Pitted against Gennaro Gattuso’s side, the Merengues needed a penalty shootout to seal their place in the next round as the game ended 1-1 after extra time.

Karim Benzema gave his side the lead in the first half after winning and converting a penalty. However, sloppy defending immediately after the break saw them concede, pushing the game to 120 minutes.

Ultimately, Thibaut Courtois came up clutch, with important saves during the game and a stop in the penalty shootout to clinch it for the champions of Spain and Europe.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media after his team’s win in Saudi Arabia and addressed topics including his team’s performance, injuries and Sunday’s final. Here are the snippets from his media interaction.

On his review of the game: “It was a tough and hard-fought match. There are no matches at this level that aren’t tough. We made a clear mistake at the start of the second half, and we made it difficult for ourselves. The first half was fine, and so was the end of the game.”

On Valencia’s performance: “The opposition defended well and created problems for us on the counterattack. We’re pleased. We need to improve gradually, but we did a good job. We weren’t great at several points in the game, but we stayed in it.”

On players’ fitness: “We didn’t have fitness problems because we did better in the final period. We tried to score in extra time and avoid penalties. We’re not at our best because there are players who only returned recently after the World Cup.”

On what held back the team on the night: “We were affected by the injuries to Camavinga and Lucas Vázquez and we brought on players who were pushing the limit, like Mendy and Carvajal. The important thing is that we’ve reached the final.”

On the poor defending for Valencia’s goal: “The block was compact during the match. We tried to remain compact. The move was an individual one and the mistake was a collective one. The players close to the ball didn’t press and the central defensive reading wasn’t great.”

On the injuries sustained during the game: “Camavinga had a knock on his knee, Lucas Vázquez sprained his ankle and Militão felt dizzy. Militão is fine because I’ve spoken to him. We have to evaluate Camavinga and Lucas Vázquez seems to have the most serious injury.”

On reaching the final: “We wanted to reach the final. We do well in the finals and we’ll see what happens. This is a different situation from last year. We’re going to fight flat out to win the Super Cup.”

On players’ availability for Sunday’s game: “On Sunday we’ll have a competitive defence. Carvajal and Mendy have shown that they‘ve gotten over their injuries. We just have to evaluate Lucas Vázquez and Militão.”

On the form of their opponents: “Our opponents are on form at the moment and we’ll have to suffer. Every match is complicated. Our opponents are well-organised and it’s always hard, but the important thing is to win.”

On the penalty takers against Valencia: “I chose the three with the most experience to go first, the coolest. Karim, Modric, Kroos, Asensio, and the last one was Vinicius. Thank goodness he didn’t take it (laughs).”

On the impact of the World Cup on the performance: “The level of the team is not at its best because this season‘s been unusual due to the World Cup. It’s normal that 20 days after the World Cup the players aren’t at their best level.”

On the supporters: “I want to thank them for the atmosphere. It felt like we were playing at home and we really enjoyed it. We all celebrated the victory together and now we’re going for the final.”

Source: Real Madrid official website

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Real Madrid News

Ancelotti ‘liked’ €70 million Portuguese full-back offered to Real Madrid in January

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Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP via Getty Images

Joao Cancelo has, for a long time, been considered one of the best full-backs in the world of football. What makes the Portuguese international special is not just his ability to contribute flawlessly at both ends of the field but also the fact that he can recreate his magic on both flanks.

For a player of such quality to depart Manchester City unsurprisingly broke the internet. Cancelo signed for Bayern Munich on a six-month loan in January with a whopping €70 million purchase clause included in the paperwork.

According to reports from AS, the player preferred a move to Spain. Both Real Madrid and Barcelona were offered Cancelo’s services, and it was only after both La Liga giants rejected it that Bayern Munich got the chance to sign him.

For the Catalans, the player’s salary was the hurdle preventing his arrival. In Real Madrid’s case, however, it was the board’s reluctance to change the squad midway through the season.

For a long time now, Real Madrid have maintained a low profile in winter transfer windows. Carlo Ancelotti liked the full-back’s profile and saw him as a good fit, but the management would not hear of it.

Real Madrid have had a torrid time at the full-back position in recent weeks, indicating that the squad was in urgent need of new signings.

For almost a month, Ancelotti has been without a right-back after both Lucas Vazquez and Dani Carvajal suffered injuries. Just as the latter recovered, Ferland Mendy hobbled off the field and could miss six weeks of action.

Cancelo’s signing would have thus been the ideal way to kill two birds with one stone. Nevertheless, the management have their faith in the young Vinicius Tobias and it remains to be seen if their gamble pays off.

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