Everything Carlo Ancelotti had to say in the pre-match press conference before the Villarreal LaLiga Santander game
Ancelotti spoke about his coaching record, managing Barça, his free time in the park and contract extensions for Modric and Kroos.
Carlo Ancelotti sat down in front of the press ahead of the class against Villarreal in LaLiga Santander (Saturday 8 April 3p.m. ET).
The 0-4 Barcelona hangover: There is a bit of tiredness, but there’s not problem. Everyone except Mendy is available. We want to keep fighting for LaLiga until the end.
How he feels: Good, calm, my humour depends on how the team is doing. I think they’re OK. On a personal level, after the games you’re tired and don’t want to even be happy, just calm. On Wednesday there was a lot of pressure. After the game you only want to rest.
Would you swap places for Xavi?: For me it’s impossible to manage Barcelona. I wouldn’t change. You have to respect the personal history and that of the clubs. I wouldn’t change with anyone because I’m very happy here, where the people love me a lot. It’s the best club in the world. The season is very alive, we’re going to play the fourth final. We are satisfied but we want to finish the season strongly. We only have four points less than last season. The thing is that Barça have much more. Everyone thinks we don’t care about the league but we do, these games are good to have a good dynamic and atmosphere and until the maths says we can’t win, we will continue to fight.
On the argument between Gavi and Vinicius: It’s the same as always with these games. In terms of the football, Vinicius is making his mark on Madrid and football in general. He is doing very important things.
I don’t know how many games you’re on, but where do you put the 0-4 in the ranking?: I’m on 1,272 games, tomorrow it’s 1,273. It’s a semi-final, the important thing is the final. Winning against Barcelona and letting you get to win a trophy, in terms of football I put it high up, in the top ten, keeping in mind I’ve had a lot of finals.
How do you know the exact number?: Before the game against Barça I checked the number, as I knew I was close to 1,300. I don’t check game-by-game. When I get to 1,300 I’ll have to celebrate.
How do you see the team?: These comebacks give us a lot of confidence. Last year we only had it with PSG. I see the team as being very switched on, even those who don’t play.
Whether or not he needed a win like this to make his mark: Honestly I think that after 1,272 games I don’t need to show anything to anyone.
Are you worried about the renewals of Kroos and Modric?: There is progress, they are talking. I think there’ll be a solution at the end.
On Abala’s injury issues: He has had a couple of injuries that have affected him. He hasn’t had the continuity of last season. He’s back to his optimum level.
On whether or not the veteran players are still fundamental: I see them the same as always, they can have moments that are better or worse. It’s normal. It happens to everyone. You have to evaluate them not by their age, but what they do. Their way of managing games is unique, you can’t buy this is in any market in the world. Age takes away from you but it also gives you things.
On if he thinks Kroos, Modric and Benzema will continue: I think so, but when they stop, something will change. The future of the club is another line. It’s not their line. We have fantastic young players like Tchouaméni, Valverde, Camavinga and Ceballos. They are going to mark an era, which is different to others.
How has Vinicius changed: We have only prepared a specific plan for him to help with the final shot.
What Ancelotti did on his day off: Do you want me to tell you everything I did? I went to Casa de Campo (park) with my wife on the bikes. I had a great time.
Are you surprised about the doubts surrounding yourself?: My job is to be in the spotlight, I know. By the way, I am on around 2,500 press conferences, so leave me alone (laughter).
Vinicius’ ceiling: His ceiling is continuity. He is always physically good, brilliant. To mark an era in modern football the best thing is continuity.