Ancelotti: Iker can handle pressure

Carlo Ancelotti gave the Pressroom a brief scare, before confirming Iker Casillas’ place against Galatasaray and explaining why.

The Italian indicated on Friday that Casillas would be handed a first start of the season in Tuesday’s opening Champions League match.

This evening in his pre-match Press conference, the Coach was once more asked on the goalkeeper’s competition with Diego Lopez.

“I changed my mind, I’ll play Diego Lopez,” joked Ancelotti at first, before laughing.

“I’m joking. Iker will play. I have two very good goalkeepers with a fantastic attitude and in my opinion Diego deserves to play in the League and Iker, for his professionalism, seriousness and capacity, deserves to play in the Champions League.

“Casillas has much experience, I see him as calm and I think that he will play a great game. He has the ability to withstand pressure, he has no problem with that.

“The other 10? They will more or less be the same that played against Villarreal.

“[Alvaro] Arbeloa has recovered and we will see how he trains today, and [Gareth] Bale we will have to be careful with after a difficult preseason.

“He has not had any issues after the match against Villarreal, but we have to think a bit before putting him on the field. We will see tomorrow.”

Tomorrow is Ancelotti’s debut in the competition with his new team. The 54-year-old has twice before lifted the European Cup, during his days with Milan.

“It is the most important competition in the world, everyone wants to win it. There is much competition.

“The important thing is to demonstrate the quality that everyone has, and for us this is most important.

“We have great quality and it is a good weapon for us to do our best in this competition. Quality and courage.

“Above everything, tomorrow we will play in a stadium with a lot of pressure, an atmosphere that helps its team much. It will be a good test for us, for our personalities.

“With this competition I have a special feeling, it is the best in the world and I’m excited.

“Everyone knows that achieving La Decima is an objective. It is not easy, but just for the fact of being involved it is a great motivation.”

Madrid go into this midweek having dropped two points against Villarreal in the League, with scrutiny on the team’s defending.

“I’m not happy, I think we have lacked balance. I do not believe that Madrid will have trouble scoring goals, we have players with great skill, but we have to defend better.

“It is not just a problem for the back four, it is a matter of improving the balance in midfield. As I said, tomorrow will be a good test.

“It does not mean that we will play defensively. Real Madrid will not play defensively, we will play to win. As will Galatasaray.”

Tags Ancelotti Casillas Galatasaray