Carlo Ancelotti gave the first official press conference this preseason and started, as it could not be otherwise, from Thibaut Courtois’s injury: “Emotionally it has not been a good day. We are sad on a personal level, it is the injury of an important player, but these things happen in football. We wish him a speedy recovery and we give all the confidence to Lunin, who is a great goalkeeper. In the preseason he did well. We have total confidence in him, we think he is a talent. What he lacks is what everyone lacks, experience, but he will take it game by game. If we sign a goalkeeper, the starter is Lunin.”
The Italian was asked about the first thing he thought when he found out about the Belgian’s injury: “The first thing I thought was that Lunin was going to play on Saturday. We have to look ahead. Now I don’t worry about those who can’t be in the game, It’s time to give Lunin confidence. He just lacks experience, but he has all the confidence of the team”. Carlo also spoke about the scheme changes that have occurred in the preseason: “We have a fairly diverse squad. We have used the rhombus and it is clear that we are not going to use only one system. We can play in 4-4-2 with rhombus, 4-3-3 4-2-3-1… We are going to use different systems.
He does not miss Mbappé
Another focus of interest was the lack of a 9, waiting for the possible arrival of Kylian Mbappé. For Carlos: “I don’t think we’re missing a 9. The problem we’ve had in preseason is defensive, because in attack we’ve scored a lot of goals and we’ve had more chances than our rivals. We lacked success, which is normal in preseason. We have several options and two players have arrived who provide more forward solutions like Joselu and Brahim, different players”. The Italian also pointed out that “during the season I have forced the team to press up a lot and we have lost a bit of balance. We will evaluate the work done better tomorrow in Bilbao”.
The white coach also revealed what was discussed in the meeting they have held with the referees: “It has been a very positive meeting with the referees in which they have explained the new rules to us. with added time. We have talked about the issue of racism, that there is a very clear protocol. The referees have understood that they have used the VAR too much. And another thing is the atmosphere, that Spain is hotter than other places and in this aspect the coaches have to calm down the benches because the referee must be calm and not enter into the protest and the fight. Last year there were young referees who lacked experience and in this environment they were sometimes wrong. You have to protect the footballer and the image of football by working together.”
Finally, he spoke about Güler’s injury (“I think Arda’s time out will be short and he can recover very soon”) and praised Jude Bellingham, whom he said he prefers “As a midfielder because his best quality is arriving in the area, moving without the ball. His movements affect the opponent more if he starts from behind and not so far forward or behind as inside. He is an extraordinary player and as a midfielder he is more dangerous.”