NEWS
Friday March 28 2014
Ancelotti: Lopez starts tomorrow

Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed Diego Lopez will continue in goal for Real Madrid despite coming in for criticism in recent games.

It had been suggested that Ancelotti could hand the gloves to Iker Casillas after Madrid suffered two defeats in as many games, to Barcelona and Sevilla, and dropped to third in La Liga.

But the Coach has told a Press conference ahead of Saturday’s game against Rayo Vallecano that he is standing by Lopez.

“We've discussed this before. Diego is playing well and will start tomorrow. Iker plays in the Champions League,” Ancelotti said.

“I'm not surprised that Diego Lopez is being criticised at the moment,” Ancelotti added.

Ancelotti moved to defend Gareth Bale, who was criticised for stopping to change his boots shortly before Sevilla scored the winning goal.

“Bale had a problem and could not continue playing with his boots in that condition. So he had to change them,” Ancelotti explained.

Ancelotti also defended himself and Madrid’s season from Jose Mourinho, who said Madrid should be doing better as Barca have slipped up.

“Mourinho gave his opinion,” Ancelotti pointed out.

“This season Real Madrid are fighting for La Liga, something they were not able to do last year.”

There has also been concern around the fitness of Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as his happiness after the Portuguese appeared frustrated with Bale against Sevilla.

The pair seemed to argue over who would take a free-kick late in the 2-1 defeat.

“The first free-kick taker is Cristiano. Bale comes second,” Ancelotti confirmed.

“If Bale takes a free-kick, it's because Cristiano wants him to do so.

“Cristiano has a little issue but it doesn't stop him from training normally. He will play tomorrow.

“If things get worse naturally Ronaldo would rest but everyone is relaxed at the moment.”

Ancelotti added that the case was similar for Xabi Alonso after it was suggested Alonso gave the ball away in the build-up to Sevilla’s first goal because he was unfit.

“Alonso might have made some mistakes in some matches but he is very important for us. He will rest when he needs to,” Ancelotti said.

Alonso’s midfield colleague Luka Modric missed training today and Ancelotti confirmed the reason, but didn’t say if Modric would be fit to play Rayo.

“Modric is sick with fever. That's why he didn't train today,” Ancelotti noted.

“Rayo Vallecano play very well. They are an example for small teams. It will be a difficult match,” Ancelotti said when the talk returned to the football.

“We have to be more focused than we normally are tomorrow.

“It's clear that we have become weaker in defence. We made small makes that have cost us many goals

“Every team has a style of play that depends on the characteristics of its players. I like Rayo's style a lot.

“Real Madrid's style of play has an identity as well.”

Ancelotti was also asked for his thoughts on the title race and said while he doesn’t know the destination of the trophy, he expects it to remain close.

“I don't know how many points are needed to win the League, but it will be decided in the last match,” Ancelotti predicted.

“The League will be won with more than 90 points for sure.”

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