REAL MADRID - GRANADA | ANCELOTTI
"Cristiano’s performance levels have dipped in recent months"
Carlo Ancelotti is in no doubt that the Portuguese forward will return to his best and hailed new signing Danilo this afternoon.
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti looked ahead to tomorrow’s visit from Granada in Saturday’s press conference, as well as speaking on a number of other issues, such as the signing of Danilo, James’ return to the side and the team’s chances of winning the league.
Danilo: “He’s a great full-back, one of the best in Europe right now. But he is part of the plans for next season. Carvajal and Arbeloa understand that competition is rife at all of the big clubs and Dani’s arrival will improve them as players. Both are focusing on doing their best and the signing hasn’t affected them at all”.
Chances of lifting the league title: “We’re convinced that the league is still wide open but we cannot afford any more slips. We have to try to win as many games as possible. The team is fine although it’s fair to say that we suffered a dip in January and February. The players are fresh and fired up. We’re going into this final stage in better shape than we were in at this point last year. Everyone in the squad is ready apart from Pepe who has a small injury problem which should be resolved quickly. We are feeling confident. In April we have a lot of games to get through and we will need everyone in the squad at some point. I’ll try to rotate the team with care”.
Was Danilo a priority signing?: “It was more about signing a good, strong player who will improve the team”.
Bale: “His last few games have been good. He scored against Levante and his first half performance against Barcelona was important for us. He followed that up with a great display for Wales. The international break has helped him to rebuild his confidence – it’s helped all of us”.
4-3-3 system: “We’ll repeat the same format we used against Barcelona. At Camp Nou, our midfield sat deeper and we were more compact as a team. We’re continuing our idea at the back while in attack Bale is playing a little further forward”.
The fans: “I think we all know how important this moment is for us. The atmosphere at the Bernabéu depends on how the team plays. If we play well, the fans will get behind us and help us”.
Points needed to become league champions: “I can’t do all the possible calculations. Our objective is just to try to win all of the games that are left. We have the quality to do that. It’s not a Utopian dream. We did it from September to December and we can do it again. The team is fresh and ready to battle in the remaining matches”.
Chicharito: “I fully understand him because during the past month, there were others players who didn’t get to play at all like him - Illarra and Coentrão. I can understand his frustration but I have explained to everyone in the squad that all of them are going to be needed”.
Pepe: “He’ll be back for the Champions League. He’ll be fine in a week’s time”.
A recent study of Europe’s strikers had Messi at No.1 and Cristiano in 29th: “It’s only a statistic concerning what has happened recently. Messi has been doing well over the past two months and Cristiano’s performance levels have dipped. Let’s see what happens over the next two months… I have a feeling that those statistics will change”.
James: “He’ll start tomorrow. He’s fine. I’ll be resting Khedira and Carvajal. Isco can’t play because he is suspended and the rest are all available”.
Granada: “Every game is important for every team. We have a full week of games but we are focused only on tomorrow’s. Granada play well, with confidence – they are a dangerous side. We’ve prepared for it as we always do. It’s our responsibility not to slip up”.