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Ancelotti urges players to maintain intensity as season reaches climax

Real Madrid cruised to a 6-0 win over Levante on Thursday, and Carlo Ancelotti has demanded no let-up from his side in the coming weeks.


Carlo Ancelotti has challenged his Real Madrid side to maintain their intensity ahead of the Champions League final with Liverpool on 28 May. Madrid, who were crowned LaLiga champions a fortnight ago, condemned Levante to relegation on Thursday following a 6-0 thumping at the Santiago Bernabéu.

Vinicius scored his first hat-trick for the club in his 168th appearance, with Férland Mendy, Karim Benzema and Rodrygo also finding the net. Benzema’s header saw him move level with Raúl as Madrid’s second-highest all-time top goalscorer on 323 goals.

The emphatic win followed Sunday’s derby defeat to Atlético Madrid, and Ancelotti said he expects his players to give 100 per cent in their remaining two league games before the showdown with Jürgen Klopp’s side. “We are playing well and our self-esteem has grown a lot,” he told a media conference. “We have this challenge of playing in the final after winning the league. We know that there is a lack of time and that we have to have intensity. The team are showing very good signs. We work very well in the field. We have done well, with rhythm and intensity. It’s what we wanted, high intensity for team dynamics.”

Asked what his side’s formation will be for the game against Liverpool, Ancelotti revealed he will not deviate from his trusted 4-3-3. “It will be the 4-3-3,” he said. “That sometimes can be a 4-4-2. I think there is no defined system. Sometimes to put pressure on the pivot, as we did against Manchester City, you go from 4-3-3 to 4-4-1-1. The idea does not change much, just a little the way of defending the rival, of putting pressure on him.”

Ancelotti has received plaudits from across Europe in recent weeks after masterminding Madrid’s dramatic run to the Champions League final, yet the Italian would not be drawn on whether he is the best on the continent. “It is difficult to answer that,” he said. “I don’t like to give myself votes, others give them to me. I like to live a happy moment. I hope I can continue like this for a long time. We have a very big goal, we are going to give everything.”

Two LaLiga games left to play

Madrid face Cádiz and Betis before doing battle with the Reds in Paris at the end of the month.