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Courtois not pleased with Real Madrid’s attacking play vs Valencia: “We weren’t so good”

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Photo by Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images

Thibaut Courtois was rightly named the Man of the Match following Real Madrid’s win over Valencia in the Spanish Super Cup semi-finals. The 30-year-old made two vital saves from inside the box to deny Los Che a win during the game before making a crucial stop in the penalty shootout.

With the win, Carlo Ancelotti’s side move into the final of the Supercopa de Espana which will be played later this week. The goal in mind, undoubtedly, will be to defend their title and hoist their second trophy of the season.

The man-of-the-match spoke to the media after his team’s win at King Abdullah Sports City and discussed a plethora of topics including his performance, the upcoming final and his recovery. Here are the snippets of his interaction with the press.

The Merengues took the lead in the 39th minute through Karim Benzema but were poor in front of goal apart from the penalty-winning chance. The goalkeeper commented on his team’s lack of sharpness in the final third and Valencia’s strong attacking threat.

“We were good with the penalties but we weren’t so good in front of the goal. They had some chances towards the end, but I managed to make the saves. We have to keep improving and we have a few days to train hard,” he said.

Having secured their place in the next round, Los Blancos will face either Barcelona or Real Betis in the final at the weekend. When asked about his preference of opponent, Courtois bluntly said that it did not matter, saying:

“We don’t care. They’re both very good sides and they’re playing well. Both of them will make it difficult for us and it’s going to be a great final. Let’s see who wins out of the two and then we’ll see the gaffer’s tactics that will help us perform at our best.”

The Belgian International missed five games through sciatica last year and spent close to three weeks on the sidelines. He said that he had recovered significantly, but still felt discomfort on occasion.

“There’ve been games in which I haven’t felt that comfortable. But these aren’t excuses, when you play, you play. Maybe in some decisive stops, I wasn’t there, but I still felt very good, he said.

After the World Cup, we solved the problem and I’m at 100 percent now. I try to help the team as much as I can and I hope that I’ll be there to help the team on Sunday.” 

Real Madrid have been sloppy in the back this season, leading to an increasing sense of dependency on Courtois to pull them out of danger. The shot-stopper was asked about the team’s dependence on him to which he said:

“That doesn’t worry me. Perhaps we have to find a way of scoring more goals and, in my case, of not conceding goals like the one against Villarreal the other day. We have to start the second half better, but it also depends on the coaches’ tactics.

“We have to see where we can improve with the coaching staff, but there’s nothing to be concerned about.”

Guarding the post during penalties is amongst the most difficult skill sets for any goalkeeper to achieve mastery in. Courtois said that he never trained specifically for spot-kicks, yet was not deprived of practice.

“While it’s true that we don’t train for penalty shoot-outs, obviously if a teammate wants to take a penalty in training, then go ahead.”

The UEFA Champions League winner closed his interview by revealing the secret behind his success in penalty shootouts and the hours of behind-the-scenes work it took to achieve it.

“I watch videos of the penalties that have been taken, for example, Cavani, who in his last few games has placed them more to the right and that’s why I went that way, Courtois stated.

Gayà missed against Sevilla on the left side and before that he went down the middle, so that’s why I went that way. My teammates have also shot very well and that’s to their credit.”

Source: Real Madrid official website

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Real Madrid News

Spain midfielder credits Real Madrid assistant manager for career success

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Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Spain’s European Championship campaign so far has been one filled with revelations. From young Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams on the wings to the ever-so-solid midfield, La Roja have impressed across the park and have taken the tournament by storm.

One such player who has played a critical role for the team despite not being in many pundits’ squad for the tournament is Fabian Ruiz. The PSG midfielder has been sensational for Luis de la Fuente’s men so far, scoring once and providing one assist in two games.

Despite not having any direct links with Real Madrid, the Spanish midfielder interestingly credits Davide Ancelotti for his success and AS brings the story.

A chapter in Naples

Fabian Ruiz may have never played for Los Blancos in his career so far, but he crossed paths with the Ancelottis in Naples a few years ago.

Ruiz signed for the Italian club from Real Betis in 2018 for a fee of €30 million. At the time, he was not known widely and was just seen as another routine Spanish midfielder aspiring to make it big.

As revealed by the player in a recent interview, however, it was Carlo Ancelotti’s son and Real Madrid assistant manager Davide Ancelotti who first saw the spark in him.

“Meeting him was a very important step in my career. From the beginning, he backed me, and it was not easy to pay what Napoli paid for me, a player who had not played much in La Liga with Betis.”

“If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be here. I have a very good relationship and friendship with him,” he added.

Fabian Ruiz credits Davide Ancelotti for his success. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

A special eye

Ruiz’s comments on Davide Ancelotti only make it clearer as to why Carlo Ancelotti holds his son’s advice in high regard. It is, after all, a testament to the tactician’s keen eye for special talent.

As revealed earlier this year, it was the manager’s son who suggested Joselu’s substitution against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League semifinals when the team was on the brink of elimination.

What happened next was history as the veteran scored twice within minutes to turn the game around and send the Bavarians crashing out.

Davide has been rumoured to be interested in walking his own path soon as a specialist coach, but as it stands, will continue working under his father for at least one more year at Real Madrid.

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