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



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 hails Real Madrid attacker after Sevilla win: “He has significant qualities”



Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid secured a hard-fought 2-1 win over Sevilla yesterday, in what was the club’s final away game of the season.

Rodrygo was the star performer of the game, racking up two goals and being handed the Man of the Match title. Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti heaped praise on the Brazilian after the game, stating, “Rodrygo did well in the centre-forward role and he can also play there. He has different attributes.”

“If you can dribble through the middle you have a better chance of scoring than if you dribble out wide. Because of his quality, it’s easier for him to find opportunities in this area. He doesn’t have the physicality for aerial clashes, but he has significant qualities,” he added.

Rodrygo, though, was a bit annoyed with Ancelotti over his substitution as he ‘wanted to score another goal’. In response, Ancelotti said, “Rodrygo wanted to stay on the pitch to go for a hat trick, but I told him that we had different objectives. He wanted to score, but I didn’t want to concede a goal. We finished with four centre-backs and managed the game well.”

Ancelotti went on to laud the atmosphere at the Sanchez Pizjuan, especially as there were no insults hurled at any of the Real Madrid players. “The atmosphere in the stadium was great despite some whistling towards Ceballos. I didn’t hear any insults and so we’re on the right track. The fans should be congratulated,” he said.

“People have started to understand what to do in the stadium and what not to do. We have to continue in this vein,” he added.

The Real Madrid manager also talked about Alvaro Rodriguez, pointing out how the youngster has room to improve.

“He’s a really young player and he’s got talent. He’s had a slump in the last period. When he’s played with Castilla he hasn’t always been at his best. Today we needed him and we’ll bear him in mind for the future. He’s young and has room for improvement,” he said.

Ancelotti talked about the future of Marco Asensio as well, with the playmaker reportedly set to leave Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season.

“On the subject of Asensio, I don’t know what the situation is, just as I don’t know about Nacho. Before the last game, everything will be cleared up. On a personal level, I’m sad to see them go because they are very important. We’ll prepare for next season depending on the decisions they make,” he said.

The Italian manager also offered an update on the availability of Vinicius, adding, “As far as Vinicius is concerned, he has two days to rest and we’ll see if he can play the last game.”

Finally, Ancelotti confirmed he will be supporting Roma in the UEFA Europa League final. He also revealed how he had a conflict of interest with Sevilla manager Jose Luis Mendilibar.

“I wished Mendilibar all the best for the Europa League final. I’ve had a conflict of interests because I was captain of Roma in the 70s. On Monday we’ll be celebrating the league forty years later. I’m a bit of a Roma fan, but I want the best team to win. Mourinho is truly a great friend of mine and my heart has a closer connection with Roma than it does with Sevilla,” he said.

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