Carlo Ancelotti says he will not take any risks with his team selection when Malaga visit the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday night.
The Madrid coach may be tempted to tinker with his squad given next Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg clash against Atletico Madrid but he says all eyes will be this weekend’s league fixture as Madrid look to keep pace with leaders Barcelona.
“The team are very focused on the match,” he said in Friday’s pre-match press conference at Valdebebas. “We are not talking about the game on Wednesday and fortunately we have the motivation to play a good game tomorrow because we have to. I am thinking about the starting eleven and it has not been decided yet.”
He added: “We are playing against an opponent who won at the Camp Nou and we have to put all of our energy into this match.”
Madrid can leapfrog Barca in the table if Luis Enrique’s men slip-up against Valencia and although Ancelotti plans to make rotations between now and the end of the season, this weekend will not be one of those moments. “We will play the best team possible because Malaga are a very dangerous side,” he said.
Ancelotti will be forced into some changes to the side that drew 0-0 at the Calderon in midweek, however. Karim Benzema limped out of training Javier Hernandez is likely to come in for him, as he did in last weekend’s 3-0 victory over Eibar. “He [Benzema] is not available, but we will have him back for the next game,” said Ancelotti. “He is going to play against Atletico”.
Barcelona, who dropped points with a draw at Sevilla last weekend, kick-off four hours before Madrid and although Ancelotti would like to watch the match, he admits it will be difficult because of his own pre-match preparations.
“We have to prepare for our game and it will be difficult to watch it,” he commented. “As a football fan, it will be an interesting game because both sides are doing very well at the moment.”