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Ancelotti: “We have total confidence in Lunin”

The coach spoke ahead of the first game of the new LaLiga season.

Real Madrid Pre-Season Training Session Photo by Helios de la Rubia/Real Madrid via Getty Images

Ahead of Real Madrid’s first LaLiga game of the new season, against Athletic Club, Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media in the Valdebebas press room. The main topic was, of course, the injury to Thibaut Courtois and the coach had this to say about Thursday’s bad news: “Unfortunately, we’ve had an injury to an important player. These things can happen in football. We’re really sad for what has happened to Courtois. We hope he can recover well and we’ll place all our confidence in Lunin, who is a great goalkeeper and showed his quality last season. What Lunin lacks is experience and now he’ll gain experience.”

Ancelotti on the possibility of signing a goalkeeper

Asked if Real Madrid plan to sign a goalkeeper, Ancelotti suggested that they will but that this new goalkeeper might be a backup behind Lunin. He explained: “We have to think about signing one, and we have time until the end of the month to think about that. Lunin is a very young goalkeeper, like Fran and Lucas Cañizares are too, and it’s a long season, so we can think about this over the next few days. If we do decide to sign another goalkeeper, it’ll be because of the number of goalkeepers we need. Would the new goalkeeper be the starter? I’ll say it again: we have total confidence in Lunin.”

Ancelotti on Arda Güler’s injury

Another player who is out injured to start the season is Arda Güler. Asked for an update on the Turkey international, the coach said: “It’s a small issue, so the recovery process shouldn’t be too long. I don’t want to say too much because of privacy, but I think he can recover soon.”

Ancelotti on Real Madrid’s 2023/24 tactics

Speaking about the formations Real Madrid might use this coming season, the Italian said: “We showed in pre-season that we can play in different ways, with different systems. We used the diamond and it worked well in some ways and not well in others, such as defensively. We won’t use just one system this season. We could play a 4-3-3 with a centre-forward, or a 4-2-3-1 with two pivots.”

Ancelotti on Bellingham’s position

Discussing Jude Bellingham and his best position, the coach said: “He can arrive into the box really well and has such great movement. He can play as a midfielder no problem, but he can be even more dangerous playing in a more advanced position.”

Ancelotti on whether he needs another striker

Asked if he wants and expects another striker to be signed before the end of the window, the coach replied: “I don’t think so. Our main problem in pre-season was defensively. We scored a lot of goals and had a lot of chances in the pre-season friendlies. We weren’t so clinical, but that’s normal in pre-season. I think we’re looking really good up front. Joselu has come in and is really good in the penalty area. Brahim can play well between the lines.”

Ancelotti on the goalscoring burden placed on Vinícius and Rodrygo

Without another striker, there will be a major burden on Vinícius and Rodrygo to score a lot of goals this season. On that pressure, Ancelotti said: “They just have to continue with their evolution, because they’ve progressed really well in the last few years. I don’t know how many goals they’ll need to score, but the good thing is we have many players who can score goals. We have Vinícius, Rodrygo, Joselu, Bellingham, Valverde, Kroos, the defenders at set pieces like Militão or Rüdiger. We have many options to score goals.”

Ancelotti on the referees meeting

As it the case ahead of any new season, the coaches had a meeting with the referees this past week. Asked how that went, Ancelotti explained: “I think it was a positive meeting. They explained the new rules, though there aren’t too many new ones. But, they did explain that there’ll be more added time, an extra minute for each goal scored. We also spoke about the racism protocol, which is clear. I hope it doesn’t happen, but the referee can stop the game if needed. We also spoke about how VAR was used too much last season. There was also discussion about how coaches should try to stay calmer in what can sometimes be a heated atmosphere. The role of the referees is to protect the footballers and image of football and I think we need to work together for this, but the referee is the judge at the end of the day.”

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