Carlo Ancelotti warned that Real Madrid CF are even stronger this season as they prepare to take on fellow Spaniards Sevilla FC in the UEFA Super Cup in Cardiff.
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• Carlo Ancelotti: "We have a lot of confidence we can repeat what happened last year"
• Unai Emery: "We have already beaten Madrid so there is a precedent"
• Ancelotti has confirmed that Toni Kroos and James Rodríguez will make their debuts
• Gareth Bale also starts in return to his home town of Cardiff with the European champions
• Both teams are looking to win their second UEFA Super Cup
Real Madrid: Casillas; Carvajal, Ramos, Pepe, Coentrão; Modrić, Kroos; Bale, James, Ronaldo; Benzema.
Sevilla: Beto; Coke, Fazio, Pareja, Alberto Moreno; Carriço, Krychowiak; Reyes, Denis Suárez, Vitolo; Bacca.
Out: Xabi Alonso (suspended), Jesé Rodríguez (cruciate ligament)
Out: Sebastián Cristóforo (cruciate ligament), Kevin Gameiro (knee)
Doubtful: Coke (nose), Alejandro Arribas
Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid coach
I am very happy with the new squad and at this club you have to win – it's the logical thing at a club as big as Real Madrid. The club have made a big effort and we have a better squad this year and for this reason we have a lot of confidence we can repeat what happened last year. Sevilla are a team who will have the same identity as they showed last year. They have changed a little in midfield with some new players, but the attitude will be the same.
[Cristiano] Ronaldo is very well, he has no problem and has done everything to be at full intensity for this game. Last year's problems are forgotten. Kroos has trained for five days and has done well; I think tomorrow he will make his debut and Rodríguez too. Iker [Casillas] will play too – he is doing well and deserves to start for what he did in the Champions League last season.
Gareth [Bale] had a fantastic season. He started without a pre-season and to be in condition it took time. His pre-season is different – he knows the atmosphere at Real Madrid, he knows his team-mates at the club and of course I am sure he will be better this season. He is in perfect condition physically, mentally, and he is going to do better compared with last season.
Unai Emery, Sevilla coach
At our best we have already beaten them [2-1 in Seville in March] so there is a precedent. We are talking about the Champions League winners but we had a superb run [in the UEFA Europa League with] the team working together to cope with superior individuals and teams who were considered favourites, like Benfica. We know Madrid, aside from the new players, but this is about us too – we have to be united and intelligent and exploit our attacking qualities while preparing the game around a strong defence. This helped us beat them at home last season.
Madrid are the favourites, that's clear. We want to take the game to them but it's another thing whether they let us. This Madrid have the potential to make us defend rather than attack during the 90 minutes. At the back we cannot allow them space with the speed of Cristiano, [Karim] Benzema and Bale. We can't give James space in midfield either or let [Luka] Modrić and Kroos dictate play. When we have the ball we have to counterattack with speed.
We had the misfortune to come up against [Bale] in the first game he really played at a high level, the 7-3 defeat [last October]. He was a key player. With a player of that level, you can relax if he's on your side but if he's against you, you have to work two, three, four times extra in preparing to defend properly against him. We'll try to do that but without neglecting the others who are also very good.
Last season's Liga meetings
Real Madrid 7-3 Sevilla (Bale 14, 27, Ronaldo 32pen, 60, 71, Benzema 53, 80; Rakitić 38pen, 63, Bacca 40)
Sevilla 2-1 Real Madrid (Bacca 19, 72; Ronaldo 14)
Latest friendly results
Manchester United FC 3-1 Real Madrid (Bale 27pen)
Sevilla 2-0 Córdoba CF (Denis Suárez 81, Bacca 84)
• The teams have met on 172 occasions; what is their head-to-head record? This and more is available in our comprehensive match background.