Lucas Vazquez claims that he has made peace with the fact that he is now a full-time right-back, adding that he has adapted well after spending a significant amount of time playing at the position.
Vazquez, 31, attended the pre-match press conference as Real Madrid prepare to take on Shakhtar Donetsk at Polish Army Stadium, which is the home ground of Legia Warsaw.
When asked about his preferred position, the 31-year-old simply said that he is feeling better at the right-back spot after every game.
“Yes, I consider myself a right back today, it’s a position I’ve adapted well to after a period. I feel better in every game and every training session and I’m enjoying football in this position,” said Vazquez (h/t MARCA).
Vazquez’s last appearance for Real Madrid came during a 4-1 home win against Mallorca in the league where he got to play 71 minutes of action before coming off injured. The 31-year-old continued his rehabilitation before making it to the matchday squad against Getafe.
But while he failed to get even a solitary minute in the fixture, he will be hoping to displace Dani Carvajal against Shakhtar. Speaking about his return, he added,
“I’m fine with the injury and I feel good. It’s inevitable that there will be talk of the Clasico, but we’re only thinking about tomorrow because it’s very important for the Champions League.”
Over the years, many have branded Real Madrid as the unworthy winner of the UEFA Champions League. Despite winning the competition a record 14 times, many believe their recent triumphs have been won just because of luck.
Vazquez, on the other hand, thinks otherwise. “These are things that we are hearing very often now. It is complicated because for our part we believe that a Champions League is not won by luck or chance.
“Each one is more difficult than the previous one and having achieved so many is a source of pride. The truth is that. What they think outside doesn’t matter much to us.
“What they say doesn’t bother us, it’s one more motivation. Last year we weren’t favourites and we won it. It doesn’t depend on us, we have to try to win it and that’s what we do every year,” he added.
Speaking about the upcoming away fixture, the 31-yeard-old said the team is going to approach it as a final. “It is approached as a final. It is important that if we win we put the classification on track. It is difficult to achieve, but we are doing well and happy with how the season is going.”
With the war still raging in Ukraine, the game will be played at a neutral venue, at Polish Army Stadium in Warsaw, and Vazquez says the situation will be more difficult for his opponents than Real Madrid.
“I think it would be very difficult to experience a situation like theirs. We want everything to end as soon as possible and in the best way. I remember that we played Legia behind closed doors and tied at three. Gareth scored a great volley,” he concluded.
Ancelotti talks Guler, Modric, Kroos, Kepa, Xabi Alonso ahead of Real Madrid vs Las Palmas
Following the harrowing 3-1 defeat at the hands of local rivals Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid will be aiming to bounce back strongly when they take on Las Palmas at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The loss to Atleti saw Los Blancos’ perfect start to the season coming to a screeching halt and Carlo Ancelotti & co. will be eager to start putting together another winning streak.
There were a lot of fingers pointed towards the manager due to his team selection and tactics against Atletico Madrid and Ancelotti answered questions about the same as well as several other topics in his press conference.
On facing Las Palmas after the defeat to Atleti, the Real Madrid boss said: “We have to prepare well for the game. Las Palmas are a team that play good football and like to play with the ball and that’s why we have to win to react to Sunday’s defeat.”
Responding to the criticism aimed at him after the derby loss, Ancelotti admitted that it is a part of his job as the coach of Real Madrid, while also insisting that there are some chinks the team needs to iron out.
“Criticism is part of a coach’s job because when you are a Real Madrid coach it is normal that there is criticism when things don’t work out. It doesn’t affect me,” he said.
“But having said that, I have to evaluate in a self-critical way the things we are doing well, which are many, and the things we have done badly, which are few.”
There have been questions asked about the diamond midfield formation that Ancelotti is using, but the Italian insisted that the system works while admitting that there are some holes that need to be filled.
“I’m clear that we have to improve the things we did against Atlético. Every system has its weaknesses. The diamond formation is not perfect but it allows us to press higher up the pitch, but the weakness is that sometimes they can find you out of position on the flank,” he stated.
On the public opinion against him, especially after the defeat to Atletico, Ancelotti insisted that while he respects that people have their opinions, he does not pay much heed to them.
Addressing the concerns surrounding the team’s tendency to concede goals early in the game this season, Ancelotti added: “We have to go into the games in a different way because we’ve conceded goals early on.”
“Public opinion can give their opinion and say whatever they want because football is a passion. You have to respect it and that’s it but I can’t get into this and I have to have balance in my decisions,” the manager claimed.
“Because of my background, I am capable of evaluating how things are going. After winning six games out of six, with all the problems we’ve had, which everyone knows, I think we’ve done well”.
Moving on to an update on the team news, Ancelotti confirmed that he will have the trio of Dani Carvajal, Vinicius Jr, and Arda Guler available for the match, as he said:
“They are all available (Carvajal, Vinicius and Güler). Tomorrow they will be available and I have to evaluate if it’s good to give them minutes from the start or during the game.”
On the topic of Guler in particular, Ancelotti said: “Guler is doing well but he lacks competitive playing time, that’s normal. What he has shown with us is that he has extraordinary talent.”
Talking about his team selection for the derby, the Real Madrid boss stated: “I don’t think I changed so many players in the derby. I put Luka as ’10’ but we’ve done that before.”
There have been complaints that Ancelotti does not seem to be keen on moving on from the pair of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos when it comes to the big games. Responding to that, he said:
“Everyone can say what they want and I have to focus on my job. It’s not true that I don’t dare to leave Kroos and Modric on the bench in important games because every game is important.”
Further heaping praise on the veteran duo, he added: “I think Modric and Kroos can play in any system in the world because of their quality, experience and knowledge.”
Reports earlier today suggested that Real Madrid have already chosen former midfielder Xabi Alonso as the man to replace Ancelotti at the helm next season.
When asked about the possibility of the Bayer Leverkusen manager taking over, the Italian replied: “I have had Xabi Alonso as a player and I think he has a great knowledge of football and is doing very well.
“I wish that one day he will coach Real Madrid like I do with Raúl and Arbeloa. They are people I know and love very much and I hope that one day they can be Real Madrid coaches”.
On his own contract, Ancelotti said: “My renewal is not a matter of interest. Everyone knows that I’m doing very well here but it’s not the right time to talk about it because there are a lot of games.”
Before signing off, the Real Madrid boss had some words of encouragement for goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga as well.
“Kepa has total confidence. He is very good and is adapting very well. The three goals conceded is a problem for everyone. I don’t like to point the finger at anyone, least of all Kepa, who couldn’t do anything,” he said.
Source: Mundo Deportivo