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Ancelotti: “The sextuple couldn’t be further from my thoughts”

Ancelotti faced the press on the eve of the Spanish Super Cup. Xavi’s Barcelona stand in the way of a second Super Cup and ninth title for the Italian.

Soccer Football - Spanish Super Cup - Final - Real Madrid Press Conference - King Fahd Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - January 14, 2023 Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti during the press conference REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

Carlo Ancelotti was his usual, relaxed self as he faced the media ahead to Sunday’s Spanish Super Cup - the 24th final of his career. The last time the Italian lost a final was in 2014, strangely enough in the Super Cup but when the tournament was played over two legs rather than the current round-robin format. With the European Super Cup already in the bag, the next on the list is the domestic Super Cup but Ancelotti insists that as always, Madrid won’t be getting ahead of themselves and will be taking one thing at a time.

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What would winning the trophy mean to you? “All trophies are important, they build confidence, motivate and spur players on to keep doing well. There is a trophy up for grabs and we will try and win it”.

Barça have more hunger? “No, we can only talk about how we feel. All trophies are important, we work hard every day for moments like this. The team is motivated, as always, and comfortable. We’re used to the pressure. We’re feeling confident”.

The sextuple: “That’s not on our minds. We only concern ourselves with battling in every competition and every match. Right now, we are only thinking about this trophy, the Super Cup. That’s what we should do, not be thinking about something that is incredibly difficult, or very complicated. We have to take one step at a time until we reach the end of the season”.

Belly full of trophies: “That’s not true, we’re talking about players who won last year, who started winning in 2013, and are still winning. The belly never gets full, the team has a great mentality and also, the demands at this club are very high, you never get to think that way”.

Thoughts on the state of the pitch? “That’s a delicate issue. If I say I like the pitch, then we get into a subject that is the focus of a lot of problems. I don’t want to say what I would like to say. It’s better that what we played on in Cáceres, that’s for sure. The pitch was ok, maybe a little hard, but it’s ok to play football on”.

Will you field the same side that beat Barça at the Bernabéu in October? “I don’t know if intensity is the best way to beat Barcelona, we will need to put in a very complete game in all aspects. We’ll need to manage the ball well, press... A lot of things. We’ll try to plan for this game, not just with intensity. The key is to put in a complete performance”.

Benzema: “Benzema is back and that gives us a lot of confidence for these kinds of games. He seems very motivated, he’s been training well. He is such an important player for us. The team has managed well while he’s been out. Now he’s back and going to help us”.

Injuries: “Of course it’s worrying when you have them. Camavinga has recovered well, Militão as well, the rest... It’s difficult to recover when a game goes to extra-time, but we’ll be fine going into the game”.

Do you need to buy a striker in the January window? “It’s true that the fixtures calendar is tough, but we don’t need more players. We already have good forwards”.

Cristiano: “I saw Cristiano yesterday, he’s happy, motivated, he likes the country. He looks fine, he made the right decision”.

Price to pay for not winning trophies: “It’s the cross that coaches have to bear if they don’t win. Xavi knows that all too well”.

Conceding goals: “We think we are defending better, there are areas that need improving, looking back at the Valencia game, we were much better. We committed a mistake for the goal we conceded. We’ve spoken about it, hopefully it won’t happen again. The diagonal between the centre-backs is a safeguard, and sometimes we forget about it”.


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