Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti says the onus is on Juventus ahead of their Champions League clash at the Juventus Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Spaniards can seal their place in the knockout stage with a draw, but that result would be of little use to the Bianconeri, who have just two points from three games after losing in Spain a fortnight ago.
“Juve’s destiny in Europe depends on the quality they show in their next three games,” Ancelotti said. “Of course they have more problems in view of the group, but this is a chance for us to seal qualification and the sooner you do that, the better.”
Ancelotti is therefore only focusing on his own side’s strengths – and weaknesses – in a bid to get the better of the Serie A side once again. With only Fábio Coentrão out, he has plenty of options, and he intends to use them.
“We need to rotate our team to have the freshest players on the field with more physical strength and I don’t think rotating is a problem,” he said.
“There are two things about rotating – on the one hand, you prevent injuries, and we only have one player out, and on the other hand, you keep the players motivated.
“Sometimes, though, by rotating, we lose our balance and this is something we need to improve.”
The balance Ancelotti is referring to is a much-maligned defensive shape which was laid bare once again at the weekend as Rayo Vallecano almost snatched a point from a three-goal deficit.
The Italian coach was keen to point out that, with an average of three goals scored per game, they are managing to cover for any deficits with their attack, but defender Raphael Varane, who was confirmed as a started by Ancelotti, believes more can still be done to help out at the back.
“We need to defend as a team,” he said, Ancelotti concurring. “We can improve defensively, if we do it together.”
That does not mean seeing Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema in their own penalty area though.
“I don’t ask my strikers to do defensive work because I don’t want them to lose their attacking strength,” said Ancelotti. “Of course we need to defend better with the other seven players.”