Real Madrid continued their 100% win record this season with a 2-0 victory over RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday. However, it was a nervy affair for Carlo Ancelotti’s men who did not get the lead until the 80th minute.
Federico Valverde and Marco Asensio got on the scoresheet for Los Blancos on the night to take the team to the top of Group F. They are now two points clear of second-placed Shakhtar Donetsk who dropped points against Celtic on Matchday 2.
Ancelotti spoke to the press after his team’s 2-0 win and spoke about his reflections on the game and individual players. Here are the snippets from his press conference.
On Federico Valverde’s improvement: “Fede Valverde loves football. He trains very well and has improved after getting consistent minutes.”
On Aurelien Tchouameni’s performance: “Tchouameni is extremely intelligent. When you have so much quality, it’s easy to prove yourself.”
On what makes the French midfielder special: “Tchouameni always wants to learn and asks a lot of questions.”
On where Tchouameni must improve: “It’s true that Tchouameni has to improve, particularly when carrying the ball. But his football IQ is what made us sign him.”
On him showing emotions on the sidelines: “Being angry or nervous during games is normal. I don’t remember myself being calm during a match.”
On what makes the team special: “This group of Real Madrid players is so special because they’re all massive Madridistas. That is important.”
On playing for Real Madrid: “The Real Madrid shirt carries a lot of weight. The players are Madridistas just like the fans and understand this responsibility very well.”
On Karim Benzema’s absence: “With Benzema, our style of play wouldn’t be different. Maybe we would have better moments, but other than that no changes. We will see if he can train in the upcoming days or not.”
On Eduardo Camavinga: “When the scoreline of a game changes, Camavinga’s energy level drops. He has to learn how to put himself in a good position when we need to control the game on a tactical level.”
On whether Benzema would return for the next game: “If Benzema is not completely comfortable, he won’t play. We will not take any risks.”
On the target he set for Valverde: “I told Valverde that if he didn’t score at least 10 goals this season, I will tear up my coaching license and leave.”
Real Madrid youngster in line for significant minutes against Granada – report
Nico Paz was long hyped as Real Madrid Castilla’s brightest upcoming star. The media constantly kept the spotlight on the young Argentine through pre-season as he made a strong impression under Carlo Ancelotti in preseason.
His breakthrough eventually arrived, courtesy of Real Madrid’s injury crisis. He has now made two appearances for the team in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League and even recorded his first goal for the club earlier this week against Napoli.
Taking his chances
As revealed by AS (h/t The Madrid Zone), Paz has impressed management with his cameo against Napoli and will be called up for Real Madrid’s clash against Granada tomorrow.
In fact, there is a good chance he sees significant game time on the night.
After all, Ancelotti is without the likes of Luka Modric, Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga in the middle of the park.
With Toni Kroos, Dani Ceballos, Federico Valverde, and Jude Bellingham filling the starting spots, Paz serves as the manager’s first-choice backup off the bench.
Paz voices his elation
Paz’s introduction against Napoli changed the texture of the game, and it was only poetic that he got the goal that put Real Madrid ahead again on the night.
Speaking to the media after his special night, the Castilla star did not hold back on his emotions.
“This is a dream. For a moment I didn’t even believe it. Very happy to be able to help the team. I dared. I was in automatic mode, I didn’t even know what I was doing. I hit it and well.”
“This is also a message for the other youth players: it is possible to get there. Ancelotti congratulated me, and the whole staff. They are an incredible group and I want to thank them all,” he added, urging his Castilla teammates to keep pushing.