Real Madrid Coach Carlo Ancelotti has said he was shocked to hear of the passing of former Barcelona Coach Tito Vilanova.
Ancelotti was speaking at a Press conference after Madrid’s 4-0 win over Osasuna and, according to Marca, paid tribute to Vilanova.
“I’ve not had much time with him. We were against each other last year, with PSG,” Ancelotti remembered.
“The impression I have is of a quiet man with great reliability and quality.
“I’m shocked. He is a colleague.
“We must be there for his family and for Barcelona, who have lost a very important figure to the club.”
Regarding the match played at Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, Ancelotti explained that Cristiano Ronaldo was removed after an hour to keep him fresh for Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final second-leg against Bayern Munich.
“[Cristiano] is fine, he played with more confidence compared to Wednesday’s game [the first-leg against Bayern], a lot more confidence,” Ancelotti said of the two-goal Portuguese.
“Everything went well for him and for the others, we have had no problems.
“We let him get some rest. The intensity wasn’t great and Cristiano showed he is fine.
“[Karim] Benzema is improving. There’s no problem for Tuesday. He’ll train without a problem,” Ancelotti added of the France striker who missed the match through injury.
“[Gareth Bale] had the flu on Wednesday, before the game, and was weak. We preferred him to train this morning.
“Karim’s better and is ready to return.”
Asked about his selection for the match at the Allianz Arena, Ancelotti insisted that the side picked would be a forward-thinking one.
“I’m sure that I’ll put out an eager XI. I don’t need to invent anything,” the Italian said.
“Everyone has to be calm. We will prepare well. I have great confidence in the players and I think everyone should as well.
“If Bale, Benzema and Cristiano are all playing well, the intention is to score before defending.”
It was put to Ancelotti that because Isco played the full 90 minutes against Osasuna, it was then unlikely he would start against Bayern.
“I don’t know if he’ll play against Munich,” Ancelotti replied.
“[Sergio Ramos] also played 90 minutes.”
The future of Alvaro Morata was also raised after the striker got a rare start against the Pamplona side.
Ancelotti was asked if he saw a future for the cantera product at the Bernabeu.
“I’ve never asked for another striker. I wanted to renew Cristiano’s contract because he never fails,” Ancelotti said.
“Morata has done well. I hope he stays here. He can get near [the level of] Karim and Cristiano.
“His opinion is very important. It’s something we’ll talk about at the end of the season.”
Ancelotti was also questioned regarding the atmosphere at the Bernabeu and the ex-Milan Coach confirmed the support of the fans was helpful to the players.
“We are happy, and it’s an important aid that the atmosphere around the team is so good,” Ancelotti said.
“Right now we’re looking forward to playing in this environment and there may be more to come.”