Real Madrid have been suffering considerably at the hands of their opponents of late, looking a yard off the pace and a step slower to every ball.
When they went behind against Villarreal and Barcelona, this became particularly evident. Real Madrid’s attempts to press higher up the pitch were futile as their opponents scythed through the press with ease.
Part of that is down to injuries, with David Alaba and Aurelien Tchouameni’s absences severely damaging their side in recent times. Yet it their physical struggles, as unwelcome as they are, were anticipated.
Carlo Ancelotti had predicted his side might not be at their peak in January before the World Cup, and Marca confirm that they will not be at their peak fitness level until four weeks time – on schedule for their Champions League tie against Liverpool.
Real Madrid did not undergo a strenuous preseason in July and August, but fitness coach had planned for a second preseason after the World Cup, albeit with specific plans for each player. Fitness coach Antonio Pintus did a stellar job last season in ensuring Carlo Ancelotti had all of his stars available and fit in April and May last season, but is facing an unusual situation this year.
The result in theory will mean that Real Madrid will arrive at the crunch period of the season at peak fitness. Pintus has regularly come up with the goods for Real Madrid, but the inherent risk is that Real Madrid find themselves too far behind in La Liga and out of the Copa del Rey by the time they are fit again.
In the next four weeks, they face Villarreal, Athletic Club, Real Sociedad, Valencia, Real Mallorca, two World Club Cup games, Elche and Osasuna, before travelling to Anfield to face Liverpool.
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