REAL MADRID

Real Madrid vs Villarreal: Ancelotti's pre-match press conference

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti faced the media in the build-up to Los Blancos' LaLiga clash against Unai Emery's Villarreal on Saturday.

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Real Madrid vs Villarreal: Ancelotti's pre-match press conference

Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media ahead of Saturday’s LaLiga clash with Villarreal, answering questions on topics such as Karim Benzema’s Ballon d’Or chances, Marco Asensio’s hat-trick against Real Mallorca and arch rivals Barcelona’s poor form.

Here are 10 key quotes from Ancelotti's pre-Villarreal press conference:

Villarreal:

“They’re a side who make a habit of playing to a very high level; to beat them, you have to do everything very well. They’re a very well organised team.”

Defensive concerns:

“It’s an aspect of our game that we have to improve. It always happens at this stage [of the season]. We’ve been all about attack, because we have so much quality going forward. Against Mallorca we were better defensively, though. More aggressive.”

Persuading players of the need to rotate:

“I have to manage that well. If you rest a player and his replacement does well… then you have a decision to make. It’s something to think about, that’s normal.”

Difficulties of drilling defensive systems amid packed fixture schedule:

“You need high-intensity [training] and you can’t do that when you’re playing every three days. We work on our defending by watching videos, so the players can analyse things and improve. I think you can do it that way.”

Karim Benzema for the Ballon d'Or?

“The way he’s playing, I think he has to be on the list of players who can win it. Karim has time to win it. This isn’t his last season. He’s like a fine wine; he gets better with time.”

In your book, you said the honeymoon period as a coach "lasts only so long". How long will it last in your second spell at Real Madrid?

“When it’s over, I’ll say so [laughs].”

Does Asensio feel important?

“He was before the game [against Mallorca], and he is now. He did very well.”

Barcelona seven points behind Real Madrid:

“I don’t get any pleasure out of other teams’ misfortune. I focus on my team and I look forward to our games. If things aren’t going well for another team, whether it’s Barcelona or anyone else, I don’t take pleasure in that.”

Will second-choice goalkeeper Andriy Lunin get any game time?

“Our idea is that goalkeeper is a different kind of position [when it comes to rotation], but Thibaut Courtois has a very strong player coming up behind him. We want to give Lunin minutes, but I don’t know when. He deserves to play and will do so in the near future.”

What was your reaction to the 6-1 win over Mallorca: satisfaction or a focus on where to improve?

“I was satisfied; it was a better performance than against Valencia, although the margin of victory flattered us. Until it was 4-1, it was a closely-fought game. You quickly have to focus on what you have to improve.”