SOCCER | REAL MADRID
Ancelotti on Shakhtar, Bale, Hazard, Asensio, Rodrygo ahead of Champions League clash
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti spoke to reporters ahead of Real Madrid's meeting with Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Wednesday.
How is the squad?
"The squad is quite good. We have been doing well. The team knows tomorrow's game very well. We faced them 15 days ago. We are going to implement a good strategy to try to win. I think it is an important match day of the group stages and winning it would mean a lot. "
Are you facing the most important game so far this season?
"It's a very important game. Winning it or losing it changes a lot. Losing it means having to win the next two. It complicates our lives. And winning it brings us closer to qualifying. We know that. The team is going to give everything, mentally they don’t fail in these types of games.”
Could Hazard disengage mentally over not playing?
"I don’t think so. Many players who don’t play must have faith. Nobody thought that Mariano's moment could come, he came and he enjoyed it and played very well, showing professionalism. That is what Hazard and the others have to do. They are not playing right now. "
What is your opinion of Roberto De Zerbi (Shakhtar coach)?
"He is a coach who has a very clear idea of what his team has to do. The identity of his teams are very clear. He is very young, I think he will be successful in his career because he has a very beautiful idea of football.”
Ancelotti: Bale is committed to Real Madrid
Why are full-backs so important in defense and, above all, in attack?
"The full backs are important players like the others. Each one has their characteristics and we have to enjoy the characteristics they have. Also what you have in front of you. If you have Vinicius you don't need a full back to push forward so much, but with someone like Asensio you need a winger who pushes up to have more space on the field. And you also have to take into account the disposition of the opposing team. I have quite complete full-backs, who can attack and defend with clarity.”
Bale, who has been injured for two months, has been called up by Wales. It seems that sometimes he is a Wales player who trains with Real Madrid. Do you think he is committed to Real Madrid?
"The player is committed. His situation is quite clear. He has had a significant injury, he has needed recovery time. He can train ahead of Rayo. His national team calls him because they need him. There they will have to evaluate if he can play or not. Yes the player is fully recovered, we are delighted that he is playing for the national team, because if he accumulates minutes he can return in better condition.”
How is Rodrygo? Are you worried about a bout of injuries?
"Rodrygo had a small annoyance. He will not be available for tomorrow. It is a small thing, he will be available after the international break. The injury is a football problem, a calendar problem. We have to manage this. At the moment we don't have many problems, except for Valverde's knee problem. The situation is pretty good. "
You haven't been getting good results at the Bernabéu. Why has it been difficult for Madrid at home and even more so in the Champions League?
"I think we have started very well. We are evaluating it. We have to at least continue creating opportunities, trying to play fast, vertical football, showing quality. I think this issue will be resolved very soon."
What do you ask of Asensio and what do you need him to give you?
"I ask Asensio to enjoy his own style of play. He has a phenomenal shot with his left foot and we have to enjoy this, both his shooting and passing ability."
Jovic has not started yet. What is your plan with him?
"I think Jovic is fine, happy to be here. I try to give him as much affection as possible. He is a player that I like as a forward. He knows that. He has the best striker in the world in front of him, which is Benzema. He must have faith that he's going to have his chance."