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SOCCER

Ancelotti responds to Xavi: “What is playing good football?”

Ancelotti will be without six players for the Sevilla game: Mendy, Marcelo, Hazard, Vallejo, Ceballos and Casemiro. Jovic is doubtful.

Update:
during the UEFA Champions League match, Quarter Final, Second Leg, between Real Madrid and Chelsea FC played at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on April 12, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Ruben Albarran / Pressinphoto / Icon Sport)
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Carlo Ancelotti attended the media on Saturday to preview tomorrow’s trip to Sevilla - a game in which he will be without six first team players. Left-backs Férland Mendy and Marcelo are out with adductor issues, Eden Hazard continues his rehabilitation following surgery on his shin bone, Jesús Vallejo and Dani Ceballos remain in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 and Casemiro is suspended. Luka Jovic, who trained apart, is doubtful.

How are the players physically and mentally?

Fine. We’ve had enough time to recover and prepare for the Sevilla game, which is going to be very difficult. It’ll be a tough task, but we are ready for it both physically and mentally. The end of the season is getting nearer and every game we play is vital.

Are you worried about tiredness?

No, we played on Tuesday and now Sunday. Physically, we’re fine and we want to put in an energetic performance - this is a game which will demand that. We’ve had sufficient time to rest.

Modric in the form of his life

Luka is going to end his career at Real Madrid. I don’t know when, but that’s the idea. He doesn’t have any problems about renewing his contract and nor does the club, it’s all quite clear . He really looks after himself and he hasn’t had any major injuries during his career. I’d like to mention the football legend Maldini as an example - he won his last Champions League aged 40. If I had to compare Luka with anyone, it would be him.

How is Hazard after his operation?

He’s fine, they have taken the metal plate out because it was bugging him. He needs to recover. But it’s going well.

Cassano’s comments

We know what he’s like. I don’t have anything to say in response.

Injuries

Now we have Mendy and Marcelo out, but it’s nothing serious. We’re all ok and I think that with games like the Chelsea tie, which went to extra-time, we saw how well the team is physically. The players recover well after games and I think we can reach the end of the season in good shape.

Kroos, not happy at being subbed...

That didn’t annoy me, he was angry with the coach but not with the person. We looked at each other in the eyes after the game and that was all, it’s over and there’s nothing more to say about it, there’s no problem. On a sporting level, he is at an extremely high level.

Xavi’s words: “Barça is the most difficult club because apart from winning, the team has to play well”

I’d like to answer that with a question - What exactly is playing well? Everyone has their own opinion on that. For me, playing well means doing well when you have the ball and when you don’t. You could be brilliant defensively, but that doesn’t mean you are playing well, because if you don’t do anything when you have the ball, you’re not doing what you need to do to win so you are not playing well. And vice versa, if you attack well and defend badly, you are not playing well. Football is about attacking and defending. A team plays well when they can attack well and defend well - whether that is with a low, medium or high press. That’s football in my view, and nobody’s going to change what I think. I’ll give you an example, against City, Atlético defended reaklly well, after that you could argue whether they could have done more when they had the ball but their defending was excellent.

How much is at stake for Madrid tomorrow?

I’m not worried about the ‘buts’. We need to win, build up more points, because LaLiga hasn’t been won. Everyone is waiting for Real Madrid to enter into a slump but I hope that doesn’t happen. Every game you play could be a trap. We all know what Sevilla will be playing for, they are still alive in the title raceand want to finish in the top four. We’ll be ready for them.

Do you ever have the feeling that whatever you, it’s never enough?

No. As I say, we have an important objective to reach and we are focused on that. I don’t care if other people say we play well or play badly... We want to win trophies. Everyone has the right to their opinion, for example, they could say that we are the top-scoring team because we have Benzema and there is some truth in that, but the reality is that what Real Madrid want is to win games and win trophies. Nothing else matters.

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