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Ancelotti: Cristiano will start, Bale is available

by Heath Chesters | Posted on Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti expects Cristiano Ronaldo to play against Atlético Madrid in Wednesday’s semi-final first-leg in the Copa del Rey, whilst insisting that his side will be much different to the side that lost against Atlético Madrid, earlier in the season in La Liga.

Carlo AncelottiAhead of Wednesday’s huge derby against Atlético Madrid in the Copa del Rey, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti told how he doesn’t expect any severe punishment to be placed on Cristiano Ronaldo, following his dismissal at the weekend and as such, the Portuguese star is in his squad.

“I don’t think we need wait for the Competition Committee decision, because I’m sure that there’s going to be no severe sanction for it. Cristiano will start tomorrow.”

As for his thoughts on the actions of Cristiano after his dismissal, Ancelotti feels it’s a lot of fuss about nothing in particular, as well as maintaining that the red-card was harsh.

“It wasn’t such a bad gesture. The player wasn’t happy because it was a very exaggerated red-card and had the sort of provocation he gets in every game. They were making a lot of fouls and a lot of provocations, so the gesture isn’t that bad at all.”

Looking at city rivals Atlético Madrid, Ancelotti stressed that the home fans could play a key role in cheering their team to victory and that putting themselves in a good position ahead of the second-leg at the Vicente Calderón, will be vital.

“The Bernabéu could be important tomorrow. It’s a derby and as always, it’s very important to keep a clean sheet at home. It’s a knock-out tie and we have 180 minutes to win it. They’re not an easy team to beat, because they defend very well and counter-attack. We’ll have to be at our best. They beat us in La Liga, but this Real Madrid team has changed a lot since then and it will be a different team that faces them tomorrow.”

Welsh international Gareth Bale has resumed training, having been out since the knock he took against Granada a fortnight ago. As well as confirming that he’ll be back in the squad for Wednesday night’s game, Ancelotti also spoke of the adaption process of Bale.

“Gareth Bale is available tomorrow. He’s recovered well, trained well and will be in the squad. Bale has done very well for a part of the season, then he’s had some problems. He’ll be a much better player next season, because he’ll have had a full pre-season and be more adapted to Spanish football.”

To reinforce his comments about Bale needing time to adapt to the Spanish game and way of life, Ancelotti then used Modric as a good example, pointing out that the Croatian has excelled this season.

“The first year was difficult for him, because he came from another culture, with a different language. Now he’s used to it here, his ability gives us more speed with the ball and more possession.”

Finally, questioned about what Jesé needs to do to start more games, Ancelotti gave a clear and simple response.

“Jesé is a starter. He started in Bilbao.”

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