“Could be the last”: Ancelotti on the Copa final and Alaba mission

“Could be the last”: Ancelotti on the Copa final and Alaba mission


press conferenceOn Saturday, for the first time since April 2014, Real Madrid could win the Copa del Rey. CA Osasuna face tenth-placed LaLiga opponents who eliminated Athletic alongside both Sevilla clubs en route to the final and are now also looking to screw up Los Blancos’ tour. The press conference with Carlo Ancelotti before the final.

Ancelotti and Real can win the first Copa since 2014 – Foto: Javier Soriano / Getty Images

Real Madrid: CARLO ANCELOTTI on…

…the final of the Copa del Rey against Osasuna (Saturday, 10 p.m., in the REAL TOTAL live ticker andTV): “Playing a final is always very exciting. Personally, before a final, I always think it could be the last. That’s what I thought in 2003 and it wasn’t the last, and I think the same thing today. It could be the last one, we have to enjoy it and I ask the players to do the same. These are very special games and we prepare them with full motivation. We’re lucky to have made it this far and we deserve to be here. We won against very difficult opponents, starting with Cáceres, then Villarreal, overtime against Atlético, 4-0 at Camp Nou. We deserve it, we want to enjoy the game and do our best to win tomorrow. With a title tomorrow it could come full circle and we’ve won everything we can win in two years. Hopefully we can do that.”

…the condition of the players and any thoughts on the game against Manchester City: “Tomorrow we will not think about what happens afterwards. We’ll give everything to win tomorrow, we’re very motivated. Preparing for these challenging games, and I’ve said that a lot, is pretty easy with this team.”

…the recently injured Luka Modrić and his chances: “We don’t know for sure yet. Yesterday he trained very well and without any difficulties. Today he also trains with us and then we will decide together with him. If he’s fine, he’ll play, that’s for sure. If he’s not feeling well, we won’t risk anything.”

…the question of what is at stake for him as a coach in the next two games: “The only thing at stake is the Copa del Rey title and the semifinals (against Manchester City; editor’s note), not more. Not my life, just the final – in a very important competition that doesn’t seem important at first, but later it becomes. It’s another title. And after that we have to prepare a semi-final and of course it would be better to do that with a title behind us. But no matter what happens tomorrow, we will prepare it with full focus. After that… you keep talking about my future, but it’s very clear: my contract ends on June 30, 2024 and not until tomorrow.”

…Red cards to protect player health: “The red card is a pretty important issue in this competition. I think there are too many. Sure, they protect player health, but that doesn’t mean they’re all designed for that. Many red cards are wrongly given. We are absolutely not thinking about what will happen tomorrow in that regard. It will be a balanced, competitive and fair game against a strong opponent who, like us, deserve to be in the final. Everyone should do their thing – we want to play a fair game without protesting, I think the opponent and the referees see it the same way. It should be a perfect game for everyone.”

…the fact that his coaching career could be practically over in just 11 days: “I don’t think today is the right time to talk about it. It’s enough for me that I have a very good relationship with the President, as well as with the fans, the players and with the club in general. I have a final and a semi-final at stake and I want to win both.”

…the defensive problem: “When I analyze a game, I usually do it with the players. Sometimes they don’t agree with what I say, but after the last couple of games they all agreed with me, including the defenders. Of course we will change that because, as I said, these are special games.”

…the mental and physical preparation for two such important games in just three days: “The mental aspect is very important in this regard. I think in today’s football three days off, without counting travel etc., is enough. So tomorrow we will try to go to bed early so that we can recover quickly. On a mental level, I don’t need to animate the team. You are focused and have been thinking about it for days. The motivation comes by itself.”

…David Alaba’s starting eleven chances: “He’s doing very well. He has been training under high loads and the data has been positive. So we don’t think there is a risk tomorrow. Nevertheless, in football you can of course never know for sure that there won’t be any problems. But from a muscular point of view, the injury has completely healed, so he will play from the start tomorrow.”

…a possible title celebration with a view to the ManCity first leg on Tuesday: “When you win you have to celebrate and we will find a way to celebrate. The fans also want to celebrate and we will do that together with them. Napoli celebrate because they deserve to win the league, after 33 years it’s a big title in a great city. Hopefully the same will happen to us. If we win, we will celebrate.”

…the same elf within three days: “Yes, you could do that after we assessed the physical and mental condition of the team on Sunday and Monday.”

…the question of how easy it is to decide on the starting XI after the last few games: “When you’re in a final, it’s always difficult. Not only did we get to the final with eleven men, everyone had their share. We managed to catch up against Villarreal thanks to two players who weren’t in the starting XI. (Marco) Asensio and (Daniel) Ceballos have given the decisive push to progress. That was a key moment. Mentioning only 11 players isn’t fair to those who were also important.”

…the prediction to Jagoba Arrasate that they would meet in the final: “I said tomorrow it will be an even, hard-fought game against strong opponents who are well organised. That it will be an important game for them. We believe that the game will be very complicated and we have to be there in the difficult moments.”


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