Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti says he is fully focused on getting a crucial three points against Valencia on Saturday and not thinking about next week’s big Champions League tie with Juventus just yet.
With Madrid trailing the Serie A champions 2-1 from the first leg, the Italian may have been tempted to rest players for the visit of Los Che with next Wednesday’s return leg in mind.
But with La Liga still up for grabs and Nuno Espirito Santo’s side having already beaten Madrid this season Ancelotti will not be taking Saturday’s game lightly. All eyes will be on the Santiago Bernabeu come 8pm tomorrow night.
“We must play with a lot of intensity against a side who are on a very good run, confident and fighting for a Champions League spot,” Ancelotti said at Friday’s pre-match press conference. “We are not thinking about Juve, we are going to put our best side out against Valencia.
“The team is doing well mentally. We know that it is an important game and we are lucky to be playing at home. Valencia gave us problems in the game earlier in the season and we have to put all of our quality out onto the pitch.”
The Mestalla club got a point at the Bernabeu last season, a result that dented Madrid’s title hopes, and ended the 22-game winning run with a 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture in January.
“I am worried about the quality of their game, their players, the confidence they have in their ideas,” Ancelotti admitted. “We are just focused on Valencia, which is the most important thing. The team are thinking about this game.”
Karim Benzema has been included in the squad but the Madrid coach admitted the Frenchman is not 100 per cent just yet. He says he will decide on his team on Saturday but Benzema is expected to play some part.
“I have not decided the starting eleven,” said the Italian. “We will see tomorrow. I am not thinking about resting the players because we have had four days of rest. The team is fresh, and doing very well.”
He continued: “He is available. He still isn’t 100 per cent, but we have good feelings about him and he is in tomorrow’s squad. It is to be decided is he will start or come on later.”