Ancelotti set to opt for experience
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti looks set to opt for experience over youth in Wednesday’s home Champions League group clash with Juventus, disappointing many observers.
Ancelotti started four of Spain’s 2013 European Under-21 Championship winning squad in Saturday’s 2-0 La Liga home win over Malaga.
However, with more experienced options such as Alvaro Arbeloa, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema fit to return, the coach suggested players such as Alvaro Morata and even Isco might have to wait a bit longer to play in the biggest games.
“They are the future of Real Madrid,” he said. “These youngsters have come in this year and, step by step, they will be the future of the club. But there is a lot of competition here, it is not easy to play. The experience will be good for them and for the team.”
Ancelotti said he had seen signs against Malaga that his team were improving ahead of the games against Juventus and Barcelona away in La Liga on Saturday.
“The game against Malaga was good and we must confirm that,” he said. “I see the team improving, with more confidence, more naturalness.
“We will see what happens tomorrow -- I am confident that the team is better and can repeat the game they played on Saturday with the same intensity and continuity. They know this is an important week and they are all focused on tomorrow’s game. Then we will have time to prepare for El Clasico.”
The Italian said he had watched Juventus lose a 2-0 lead as they were beaten 4-2 at Fiorentina last weekend, but saw that as more of a fluke than something he could learn from.
“To prepare a game we must analyse all the minutes the opponents played,” he said. “These things can happen in football, they are difficult to explain, but can happen to any team.
“Juventus’ strength is their organisation, built up over two years, not so much their individual players. It is hard to make chances against them and they are good on the counter-attack. They also have extraordinary players like [Andrea] Pirlo, who is so important at starting moves.”
Ancelotti was Juventus boss between 1999 and 2001, when his midfield included both Zinedine Zidane, now Madrid assistant coach, and Antonio Conte, the current Juventus manager, but his only trophy was an Intertoto Cup.
“I had much less experience [then],” he said. “I found a club with great organisation, the experience was very good for me to improve, both as person and a coach. The results were not so good, that’s true, but I have a good memory of those two years in Turin.”