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Ancelotti speaks after Bilbao win

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Ancelotti on the bench last night. (Photo via Twitter)

Real Madrid kicked-off their 2023/2024 season with a statement win last night over Athletic Club at San Mamés. The Spanish giants overcame all injury woes to secure a 2-0 victory last night, thanks to goals from Rodrygo and new signing Jude Bellingham.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media after the game. This is what the Italian manager had to say (all quotes are from the official club portal).

“We played well, especially in the first half, when we showed a lot of intensity. In the second half we slowed down and had less control, but we did well at the back.”

“It’s evident that when the team is collectively committed and has the right attitude, we are stronger defensively. The team was well positioned and strong in the duels.”

“In the first half we won back a lot of balls. The team is comfortable playing this way and we worked really well defensively.”

The coach also spoke on star performer Jude Bellingham, who was also awarded with the man of the match award: “He’s outstanding. He has plenty of personality and has adapted very quickly to the team’s system. It seems like he’s been with us for a long time and he’s a very talented player.”

Another of the protagonists of the night was Rodrygo Goes, who earned praises from the coach: “He possesses different characteristics to Joselu. He combined very well with Valverdeand Carvajal on the right wing. He’s adapting to this system very well, as is Vini Jr.”

“They’re very young and they’re progressing nicely, but they need to continue with this progression. Hopefully Rodrygo can get more goals than he managed last season.”

The coach also spoke on Militão, who slipped during the game and had to come off injured: “He sprained his knee. It doesn’t look good and we will assess it in the next few hours. Hopefully it’s nothing serious. We’re concerned and we’re not ruling anything out (later confirmed by the club to be an ACL tear.”

About Lunin, Ancelotti said: “He’s done really well. He was very calm and focused. He moved the ball well from the back and he was good with the high balls. He showed confidence and concentration.”

It was however surprising that both Kroos and Modrić were named on the bench: “They’re part of a squad that has a lot of quality. I can’t say that they’re going to be substitutes. They’re very important players. I’ve chosen this line-up today, but I might change it next week.”

Of course, there was no way the press conference would have ended without a question on Kepa, who is reportedly set to join Real Madrid. “He’s not a Real Madrid player and I don’t talk about players who aren’t Real Madrid players.”

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