I know De Zerbi very well

Monday, October 18, 2021



Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti answered reporters' questions on the eve of the match vs Shakhtar in Kyiv

- This Champions League game follows the international break, you are playing away. What is the team’s current state?

- The players returned from international duty in good shape, with the exception of Hazard – he’s got some issues. But this time has been beneficial: Mendy and Marcelo are back, they are fine now. We saw some good things in the team, worked on the mistakes of past matches and believe that we are ready for the game that will be quite difficult against the tough opponents. We have confidence in ourselves and in the things we can do.


- After the break, you have not had any matches yet, after the defeats at the hands of Sheriff and Espanyol. Tomorrow you’ll face Shakhtar, and then Barcelona. How important is it?

- Of course, the matches are really important both tomorrow and against Barcelona in the Spanish league. We played well before the first international break. After the second one, it was a little harder. And now we’ve got to return to a very high level in order to claim wins and perform just like in the very beginning.


- In recent years, Real Madrid have had difficulties in late September and early October. Perhaps it's connected with fitness?

- Not necessarily. I don’t know, the seasons are different, every year is different. Either the players are out of shape, or there are many international breaks. But we need to remember that the most important period of the season is not this time, but much later, when we play the finals or have the last stages of tournaments. You must be prepared for them.


- Tomorrow, perhaps for the first time this season, Casemiro, Kroos and Modric – the legendary midfielders – will play together. Do they have any prospects in the future? Can they perform for a long time? You have Camavinga, Valverde ...

- Of course, Modric, Kroos and Casemiro are top players, you can see it. They compete in training and in matches. Fortunately, we have a very high quality selection of players, there are young players like Camavinga, Valverde and Blanco, they also need to be given match minutes to develop. And it's good when there are so many options in the squad. We have young people who can develop, and we have experienced performers who are legendary and top-level to this day.


- Hazard is the only player who returned from international duty with some issues. Perhaps people got tired of two years of constant problems?

- Most likely, Hazard himself got tired the most. That’s not an injury, but a muscle issue. Maybe he will be playing against Barcelona or Osasuna.


- Mendy was injured for five months: can he appear in the starting lineup tomorrow?

- He can start or appear as a substitute. The truth is that we had multiple issues at left-back, because only Miguel Gutierrez could play. The return of Mendy is great news for us, he is a footballer who can play at left-back.


- Ancelotti’s first Real played the basic and obvious 4-3-3. Now you initially had 4-3-3, but then injuries and inconsistency followed. Did those factors affect your performance or do you really want to play in the current manner? And how would you decide to play if tomorrow is the Champions League final: the same way or otherwise?

- Sometimes we defended using a 4-4-2 formation, just like against Espanyol, and it didn't work out very well. Definitely, we should play 4-3-3, albeit without a clear halfback, because we are used to this style, and it can be clearly seen now.


- What are the prospects for Andrii Lunin at Real Madrid?

- Lunin must get better. He plays very well. I have spoken to him and will give him time during the season. But there is Courtois before Andrii - one of the best goalkeepers in the world today. However, everyone sees Lunin's attributes, that he is a good goalkeeper. Of course, he will be successful in his career.


- Shakhtar is headed by your compatriot. What can you say about Roberto De Zerbi? Do you know him personally? How can you characterize him?

- Yes, I know him very well. He's a great friend of mine. We have different styles of football, but his Sassuolo played great, he did an excellent job there. We can see it now at Shakhtar as well. The team have a clear style.