Ancelotti and Courtois’ comments after pre-season Clasico loss

Real Madrid fell to a 1-0 defeat to Barcelona in their first match of pre-season. Here are Ancelotti and Courtois’ post match comments:

Ancelotti’s thoughts on the team’s performance

“It was a good match with a lot of intensity, especially in the first half. I thought it was an even game. I tried to spread out the minutes because of everyone’s physical condition. Obviously when you play Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric it’s easier, but I also wanted to play some younger players. Overall, I liked this performance against an opponent that is very strong.”

Ancelotti on Benzema’s preparation

“When we face Club América, he’ll play 45 minutes and then he’ll play more against Juventus. In that game, I’ll try out the team that will probably start the UEFA Super Cup.”

Ancelotti on the left-back spot

“Alaba will only play left-back when it’s necessary, as I don’t want to break up the successful team of last season. I liked what Rüdiger did as a full-back, although I’m not crazy and I know that’s not his main position. He can play there or switch with Alaba. He’s very intelligent.”

Ancelotti on Hazard

“He can play in many different positions and he can also adapt to the false nine position. He just needs minutes to improve his conditioning.”

Ancelotti on the transfer market

“The squad is finalised and we have many players. I think we have a better squad than the one we had last year. You can see that the intensity in training has improved.”

What Courtois had to say after the match:

Courtois on losing in pre-season

“The score doesn’t matter during the pre-season, I remember when we lost 7-3 against Atletico and then beat them twice and won LaLiga. The results now don’t tell the whole story, it’s clear that we want to win here in front of the American fans, but this was just the first game and we had to improve our conditioning. We don’t like the loss but we don’t have to be dramatic about it.”

“We won La Liga and the Champions League with this team and we have faith, but it’s true that when he isn’t there we miss some goals or some chances. It was just the first game, we shouldn’t jump to any conclusions, we have to be ready for the European Supercup Final.”

Courtois on Rüdiger starting at left-back

“Rüdiger at left-back? This is the coach’s decision, you will have to ask him why he put him there. He’s a great player who fights and defends well and brings intensity to the team. The coach makes the decisions, Rüdiger came in today and he’s very good, we have very good defenders.”

Courtois on Hazard:

“Hazard? It depends a lot on where he plays. In Belgium he plays as a midfielder in a 3-4-3 formation, not as a striker. He’s in good form, he’s been training for just a week but I’m sure he can bring many things to the team. This is all in the coach’s hands, his injuries are a thing from the past now. The other day Rüdiger kicked him and he got up just fine.”

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