Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti said his team would have to be at their best to beat rivals Barcelona in their El Clasico clash tomorrow.
The former AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain boss knows his side need a positive result against the Catalans to keep their title hopes alive.
Barcelona are nine points ahead of Los Blancos with 14 games remaining. The table-toppers have shown a superb ability to grind out wins under various circumstances.
Consequently, Ancelotti said his team would have to show the best version of themselves tomorrow to get a good result.
Ancelotti said (via Real Madrid’s website): “We have to enjoy the moment and be on the front foot in a hugely important game.
“We can win it if we’re able to show the best of ourselves in every sense; individually, collectively, in attack and defence.
“We’re not thinking about the league being over, we’re focused on winning tomorrow’s game. That’s the only thing in our minds – we want to cut the deficit.”
Ancelotti also praised Barca. He commended their defensive resilience and said it was one of the reasons why they are top of the table.
“They are solid at the back and don’t concede many goals,” he added. “That’s how they’ve managed to win games despite being up against it more than they’re used to. It’s very difficult to know how the game will go because each one is different.
“In the Copa they were defensive because they had the lead. Depending on what happens in the match, they will change their approach.
“We have to look at Barcelona like a lion tomorrow, not a cat. If you go into it thinking they’re a little cat, you’ll take it too lightly. It’s a huge game in which we have to fight to the end and show real commitment.”
Ancelotti is under pressure to deliver a good result against Barcelona tomorrow. Real Madrid authorities did not like how their last El Clasico tie went. His tactics disappointed them.
Barcelona outfoxed and outwitted the Madrid club in the first leg of their Copa del Rey tie at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Ancelotti’s men looked flat against a Barcelona side hit by injuries and suspensions. Their performance led to questions about the manager’s continuity.
Madrid also lost the Super Cup to Barcelona 3-1 in January – a defeat that still leaves a bitter taste. Ancelotti’s side must show improve to beat their arch-rivals tomorrow.
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