Real Madrid and København seek European tonic
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Real Madrid CF and FC København have not been tearing up trees of late but while Carlo Ancelotti is eager for a lift, Ståle Solbakken feels his side have nothing to lose.
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Carlo Ancelotti admits Real Madrid CF have not been at their best of late, culminating in Saturday's home derby defeat by Club Atlético de Madrid, but he is confident his players will come good soon enough. There is no better time than Wednesday, he adds, when the Merengues look to build on their opening 6-1 win at Galatasaray AŞ against an FC København team whose domestic struggles eclipse their own.
Carlo Ancelotti, coach
The Atlético match was no good. We need to react, to improve our results and performances. I feel very confident about my players and I'm sure we are going to respond well. Tomorrow's match is important. We started well in the UEFA Champions League so tomorrow's match takes on a different meaning – it is not just about keeping on a good path in this competition but about changing attitude and spirit.
We know everything about København. They have had the same philosophy, strategy and coach for years. We know they are not doing well in their domestic league. They started well against Juventus and we have to pay attention in matches like these. We are united when results are good and when not.
[Álvaro] Morata has all the attributes to play centre-forward for Real Madrid, which is why he is in the squad. I understand why our supporters are angry. They want to see good football and our recent games have not been good enough. But I need to support all my players at this moment, even those that are not in peak form.
The team are not playing well because we have changed a lot of things but they are going to play better soon, that's for sure. I have a very good squad. They have to play better but this is my problem and I'm going to fix it.
Saturday: Real Madrid 0-1 Club Atlético de Madrid (Diego Costa 11)
Diego López; Arbeloa, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Coentrão; Di María (Bale 45), Khedira, Illarramendi (Modrić 45), Isco (Morata 73), Ronaldo; Benzema.
• Madrid's first Liga loss to Atlético for 14 years – and their second successive reverse against Diego Simeone's side following May's Copa del Rey final defeat – left Ancelotti's men five points adrift of their city rivals and FC Barcelona in the standings.
Gareth Bale is a late withdrawal with a hamstring problem while Xabi Alonso continues to recover from the broken foot he sustained in August. Marcelo picked up a thigh injury on international duty with Brazil in September while Raphaël Varane is available having recently returned following surgery on his right knee.
Ståle Solbakken, coach
My goal is to get the maximum amount of points from our group. Obviously the favourites are Real Madrid and Juventus; Galatasaray are also very good and could easily get points here in Madrid. Our immediate aim is to play a fantastic match tomorrow and then to get maximum points against Galatasaray in Copenhagen. Obviously we need points away from home, too, and it is just possible that we could give Madrid a fright.
We will have to adapt to Madrid's speed, that's important. It will be difficult to keep up with the speed and momentum of the game – we saw that against Juventus after 45 minutes. It will be tough against all the big teams, trying to get used to playing at that European rhythm and speed.
It's not fair to ask if we are going to concede a lot of goals. Let's not forget that Madrid scored six against Galatasaray, a team that could have reached the semi-finals last season. We have to be positive. The difference between Juventus and Madrid is that Madrid are filled with match winners, Juventus are a more compact team.
My players are very experienced and are in the right frame of mind. For Madrid it's important to win this match especially after they lost in the Liga. They need to recover and show what they can do.
Saturday: Brøndby IF 3-2 FCK (Szymanowski 25 44, Makienok 49; Adi 63pen, Toutouh 69)
Wiland; Jacobsen, Margreitter, Mellberg (Kristensen 66) Bengtsson; Delaney, Claudemir (Toutouh 46), Bolaños (Gislason 46); Braaten, Jørgensen, Adi.
• FCK, who had Pierre Bengtsson sent off with 11 minutes left, suffered their first defeat in seven games in all competitions since coach Solbakken was reappointed. The Danish title holders remain in the relegation zone, with ten points from as many games.
Goalkeeper Johan Wiland (arm) and forward Nicolai Jørgensen (groin) both returned to action against Brondby, but Olof Mellberg was forced off with suspected concussion.
• In eight matches against Spanish sides, København have drawn four and lost four; on their travels their results are D2 L2. Their last such assignment came in their most recent UEFA Champions League campaign in 2010/11: paired with Barcelona in the group stage, they lost 2-0 away and drew 1-1 at home.