Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the journalists during the post-match press conference of Real Madrid’s 2-0 win over Athletic Club. Ancelotti was asked about the upcoming game vs Manchester City and how important it’ll be for everyone to be at top fitness levels, and talked about Bellingham and Valverde not being 100%. He said: “Bellingham didn’t have the freshness he usually has, he comes from two intense games with England, and I think he has paid a little for it. That intensity was missing a bit, Bellingham, Valverde… To beat City, we all have to be at the best possible level. I think he played very well with England, and the work he did with them will be good for the games to come.”

The importance of today’s win

“Taking into account that after a break with many players with their national teams, it could be a complicated match. The truth is that we have started very well, moving forward early. On a defensive level we have been compact and orderly and we have not taken risks. We have played at a very high level of intensity.”

About the defense’s stability today

It’s a bit of a whole season. There is a collective commitment on everyone’s part: the forwards sacrifice themselves and at the back, we are doing very well, with the team in order. Today, we could’ve pushed a little higher, but we didn’t have the energy to do it, because Bellingham and Valverde were not at 100%.

About Militao’s return

“He has played very little, but it was very important for him and for us that he returned. In this final stretch of the season, we need everyone and above all a defender as strong as Militao.

“We are talking about one of the best defenders in the world. He needs time to better adjust to playing again. But the fact that he is with us is going to improve him. We are going to need him in the next games. After so much time away, the emotion is enormous. Everyone has congratulated him.”

About Rodrygo’s performance

“He has played very well, he has made a difference, and he was able to score very early. It is what he has to do. Now you can say that he feels better on the left, but he is good everywhere. Let’s not forget that he scored two goals playing on the right in a Champions League semi-final.”

About Guardiola’s complaints

“I see the calendar well. Obviously, they have a more complicated schedule. We have a small advantage in this regard, but it will not determine the outcome of the match.”

About Valverde’s substitution

“He had a knock, no problem, now we have two days of rest. He played his game, not with the intensity that he usually has, but after the break playing at high intensity is more complicated.”

Could Madrid be bothered by so much time without playing?

“No, I don’t think so. It’s good for us to have a week to prepare for the game. We will give rest to those who have been with their national teams, and it is just enough time to prepare for the game in the best way.”

About Real Madrid’s advantage in the league standings

“We don’t think about this. We must take advantage by winning every game. Starting with the next one. The league is still open, we have this advantage, and we must enjoy it by playing well and trying to win everything.”

About Rodrygo not scoring consistently

“There are very isolated cases of forwards who score all the time, like Benzema or Cristiano. With experience, Rodrygo will improve this aspect, being young he plays with a lot of intensity, and sometimes because of that youth, I ask a lot of work from him, which is why sometimes he is not fresh in front of the goal.

About Bellingham’s “zip your lips” reaction with regards to refereeing decisions during the game

“I don’t know what he thinks, but I know that he has learned very well what he has to do: keep quiet.”

Nacho or Tchouameni vs Manchester City?

“Many things have to be evaluated. Tchouameni was very important today. He had a strong presence, and he recovered many balls. If it is not him [in the pivot], it could be Camavinga. It is a problem to choose someone, but a positive problem.”

About preparation for Manchester City

“We know them very well. We are going to analyse everything that can be analysed. We are focused on our game, and it must be a different duel than what we did today, with more intensity. We are going to do it. We have the time to prepare everything perfectly.”

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