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Ancelotti waves off defence concerns ahead of Juve

04 Nov 2013 19:01:51

Ancelotti waves off defence concerns ahead of Juve

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti believes his side will overcome recent defensive lapses and claim at least a point at Juventus that would seal their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Real top Group B with nine points from three games while Juventus, sitting third seven points adrift and two points shy of Galatasaray, are in dire need of their first win of the group campaign.

On paper, the Spanish giants are favourites in Turin on Tuesday having scored 12 goals in their last three outings in the competition as well as 30 in 12 La Liga outings.

However the defensive lapses of Ancelotti's star-studded side, evident last weekend when Real almost let a 3-0 first-half lead over Rayo Vallecano slip before they prevailed 3-2, have become a concern.

Ancelotti, considered one of the sport's master tacticians and known primarily for his hugely successful spell at AC Milan, admitted he is not entirely satisfied with his side's defensive play.

But the Italian insisted he would not ask forwards to come back and defend. And he believes Real's attacking record of 42 goals in their last 15 games will ultimately tell.

"In football finding the right balance is all about getting the right combination betweeen attacking and defending," Ancelotti told media Tuesday.

"It's true, we've conceded too many goals. I'm not happy with our defensive play, but I'm not going to ask my three forwards to come back and defend. That would affect their performances.

"But you can't forget that we've scored 42 goals in 15 games. That's nearly three goals a game on average."

A fortnight after a 2-1 defeat at the Santiago Bernabeu, where defender Giorgio Chiellini was harshly sent off shortly after the restart, Juventus are fired up for the win that would relaunch their bid for a second place finish.

Juve midfielder Claudio Marchisio said that even with 10 men the Italians gave a good account of themselves in Spain.

And he hopes Real's defensive lapses come back to haunt them.

"Real have plenty of strong players up front who sometimes help out less in defensive areas, so that puts their backline under pressure," said the Italy international.

"We defended well in Spain, enjoyed possession and caused them problems.

"Plus, in Turin, we'll be able to count on the support of our fans, who will create a red-hot atmosphere."

But Ancelotti, who has only one injury absence in midfielder Fabio Coentrao (knee), warned that after rotating his squad his starting XI will be fresh and fired up for the challenge.

"We've had to change and rotate the squad to make sure we have fresher players on the pitch," he added.

"That allows me to have players in good shape and players are more motivated.

"I think it will be an interesting game, because both teams have their own problems. But it's also an important game for us.

"We can secure qualification and if we can do that at this stage, it's obviously better."


AFP

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