Carlo Ancelotti brushed off concerns Real Madrid’s growing injury crisis will prevent them from making it a perfect five Champions League wins from five when they host his former club Napoli on Wednesday night.
The Italian looks set to be without at least eight players when Los Blancos take on the Serie A champions in their penultimate Group C clash after Luka Modric sustained a thigh issue in the second half of Sunday’s 3-0 La Liga victory at Cadiz.
But Ancelotti, whose side secured qualification for the knockout phase three weeks ago with a 3-0 win over Braga, remains optimistic those fit for the midweek encounter at the Bernabeu will rise to the occasion.
He said at his pre-match press conference: “I really would not want to speak about all these problems that we have and players who are unavailable, because it’s a lack of respect for all those players who will be playing, who are also great professionals and can contribute great things and achieve great results.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) November 28, 2023
“Obviously we didn’t expect something like that to happen, but considering that we have achieved great results. Despite all of these disadvantages, I can tell you that this squad is amazing. We have great strength and depth.”
Goalkeeper Kepa (muscle) stuck to an individual training plan on Tuesday while Arda Guler, Militao, Thibaut Courtois, Aurelien Tchouameni, Eduardo Camavinga and Vinicius Junior continue to progress following their respective injuries.
And there may be more bad news for the hosts, with midfielder Brahim still recovering from the intestinal issue that kept him out of Sunday’s squad.
Ancelotti feels Napoli will continue to feed off the freshness of new head coach Walter Mazzarri, who took over from Rudi Garcia earlier this month and oversaw a 2-1 triumph at Atalanta on Saturday.
Full time: #AtalantaNapoli 1-2
— Official SSC Napoli (@sscnapoli) November 25, 2023
“I think the fact that they changed the manager will serve as an additional source of motivation for the players,” the Real Madrid boss said. “They already showed that against Atalanta who they beat this weekend.”
Ancelotti, who has recently been linked to Manchester United and the Brazil men’s national team, refused to entertain questions about whether he feels his employer will soon offer him the opportunity to extend his tenure past next summer, when his contract is due to expire.
He said: “I stopped talking about my future quite a while ago and I’m not going to do it this time either.”
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