Ancelotti on Juve and former Liverpool midfielder: Lucky to have him

Xabi Alonso

The Real Madrid boss wants to make the Champions League Last 16 this evening, and has praised Xabi Alonso.

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti believes that Juventus will pose a real threat to his side this evening, but wants to secure qualification as soon as possible.

Los Blancos can make certain of a place in the Champions League Round of 16 on Tuesday night if they claim just a point in their Group B match in Turin against Juventus.

'It's going to be an interesting game,' considered Ancelotti in his pre-game conference. 'Juve have more difficulties than us in the group – this is a chance for us to seal qualification and the sooner you get that, the better.

'We need to rotate our team to have the freshest players on the field, with the most physical strength, and I don't think rotating is a problem although sometimes we lose our balance as a result and we need to improve this.

'We've been conceding too many goals and this is our problem. Everybody in the world knows how important the defensive work is, but we've scored 42 goals in 15 games, with an average of three goals a game.

'I think the three attackers I have are very interesting. [Raphael] Varane will play tomorrow because he didn't play on Saturday and will be fresh, then I'll choose between [Sergio] Ramos and Pepe to partner him.'

Ancelotti, who had a spell over a decade ago in charge of the Bianconeri, paid tribute to his compatriot currently in the Italians’ dugout.

'Conte has done an extraordinary job. He is working at a club which he feels particularly strongly about and in these three years, he's done more than anybody could have possibly imagined, winning the title twice.

'He's got a very competitive side.'

The Coach was asked of the comparisons in the build-up to the game between the two teams’ midfield playmakers Andrea Pirlo and Xabi Alonso.

'They are great players, both very fast and intelligent. I've been lucky to have worked for clubs with players like these. I've been lucky to have Pirlo at Milan and now I'm very lucky to have Alonso.'

image: © Jan S0l0

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