Real Madrid vs Espanyol: 'We have problems in defence,' says Carlo Ancelotti ahead of the La Liga clash

The Los Blancos will welcome Espanyol at Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, knowing they need just one point to secure the La Liga title.

Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti; Credit: Twitter/@realmadriden
By Sreejith C R | Apr 30, 2022 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti admitted that his side has “problems in the defence”. The Los Blancos will welcome Espanyol at Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, knowing they need just one point to secure the La Liga title. But both sides are heading into the contest on the back of defeats as Anceloti’s side suffered a 4-3 loss against Manchester City in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final on Tuesday, while Espanyol lost 1-0 to Rayo Vallecano on April 21. Real Madrid are by far the best team in Spain this term, winning 24 games, drawing six and losing just three. But the team’s defence hasn’t been great, having conceded 11 goals in their last four games across all competitions.

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I hope we will be able to secure the title: Ancelotti

The Los Blancos needs just a draw on Saturday to secure their 35th La Liga title. In their last La Liga game against Osasuna, goals from David Alaba, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez helped them secure a 3-1 win. But the victory came at the cost of an injury to Alaba, who recovered in time to make the trip to Etihad stadium, but had a night to forget against the Man City attackers. Despite losing the  away leg 4-3 Ancelotti’s side wouldn’t be too dejected as overturning a one goal deficit at home is very much a possible task, but won’t be easy against the Premier League giants. “After the match against Manchester City, the players were already thinking about Espanyol,” Ancelotti said. ”The great tennis players, when they are on match point, they win it. I hope that we’ll be able to do that tomorrow.”

Ancelotti likely to rotate the side

One of the main reasons for the Man City loss was the absence of defensive midfielder Casemiro who missed the game with an injury. The Brazilian’s absence allowed the Man City attackers to play with more freedom in the attacking third while  Kevin de Bruyne had too much space to operate. With the second leg coming next week, Ancellotti is likely to rotate his squad. Central defenders Nacho and Eder Militao are both suspended “We have problems in defence,” Ancelotti noted. ”I have to start [Jesus] Vallejo, who has not played a lot. I have to choose another central defender, and that could be Casemiro. In the midfield I have options, with fresh players like [Eduardo] Camavinga and [Dani] Ceballos.[Marco] Asensio further forward is fresh, and we will see if Karim [Benzema] is fresh tomorrow. I have to prevent anyone who is tired from getting injured.”

Haven’t thought about celebrations: Ancelotti

The capital giants boast the best home record in the league this term, picking up 37 points from 16 games, and will be aiming to get the job done in front of their own supporters. Asked about how Real Madrid are planning to celebrate the title triumph, Ancelotti said that the club are not yet thinking about it. “We haven’t thought about the celebrations,” he stated. “If we win we will celebrate like everyone will. But let’s win first.” Meanwhile full-back Marcelo is set to leave the club at the end of the season, and Ancelotti was full of praise for how he has conducted himself this season. “[Marcelo] has suffered because he hasn’t played a lot, but he is a fantastic professional and he feels what it means to be captain,” he explained. He has always been close to the team and has been a perfect captain.”

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