Ancelotti unhappy with international injuries
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has voiced his frustration at a number of players returning back to the Spanish capital from international duty with injuries.
German midfielder Sami Khedira is expected to miss the rest of the season after suffering cruciate ligament damage in his country's 1-1 draw with Italy last week.
Meanwhile, Ancelotti also confirmed that Raphael Varane, Fabio Coentrao, Angel di Maria and Marcelo will also be missing for Madrid's trip to Almeria on Saturday.
And the Italian was particularly scathing of the Spanish Football Federation's decision to play two friendlies in Equatorial Guinea and South Africa in the heart of the season.
"We are lucky that there are no international games until March," he said on Friday.
"It is difficult to speak about this. I think the decision about the Spain games was not good because the players have slept for three nights in an aeroplane. Luckily we haven't had a problem (with the Spanish players). Better organisation could help the teams avoid injuries."
Madrid trail La Liga leaders Barcelona by six points, but with the Catalans facing huge injury problems of their own without Lionel Messi and Victor Valdes, a run of four league games before the winter break represents an opportunity for Los Blancos to try and cut the gap.
However, Ancelotti is demanding that his side remain focused after dropping points immediately after an international break away to Villarreal earlier in the campaign.
"We don't need to think about the rival, we need to concentrate on the games that we have to play. In the last few games we played well and showed a good attitude. Tomorrow we need to do the same.
"It will be difficult because Almeria are doing well. We need to be alert because we have had problems after the international break before. I hope tomorrow will be different."
Brazilian midfielder Casemiro or Spanish international Isco are expected to fill the void left by Khedira's absence.
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