MADRID: Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti is not concerned by his side’s three friendly defeats in the United States and is confident his players will be on top form for the European Super Cup against Sevilla on August 12.
Real were beaten 3-1 by English Premier League side Manchester United in an International Champions Cup match in Michigan on Saturday following reverses to Italian Serie A clubs AS Roma and Inter Milan.
“We are not happy with the defeat,” Ancelotti told a news conference at the University of Michigan stadium in Ann Arbor.
“But I am sure we are going to play with a different spirit in the European Super Cup,” added the Italian, who led Real to the 2014 Champions League title in his debut season.
“These are preparation matches. We didn’t do things well but everything will change next week.”
There was at least some good news for Real as Portugal forward and World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo, who is recovering from a knee injury, came on with around 20 minutes left to surprise the crowd of 109,318, a record attendance for a soccer match in the United States.
Ancelotti, who had said before the game Ronaldo would be unable to participate, predicted that once Real’s top scorer was back to full fitness and new signings James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos had joined up with the squad the team would be ready for the new season.
“We can’t be ready at this point because some players only started (training) a week ago and they are not in optimal condition,” Ancelotti said.
“It’s normal to have a day like today as the team is not used to playing without Cristiano or the other players.
“With the players who are returning the quality of the squad will improve.”
Ronaldo will have recovered from his left knee problem in time to feature in the Super Cup against Europa League winners Sevilla, which takes place in Cardiff, Ancelotti added.
Meanwhile, Italy and Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini has joined the criticism of Italian football federation (FIGC) presidential candidate Carlo Tavecchio after the 71-year-old referred to African players as “banana eaters.”
As the row continued to fester one week after the comments were made, Chiellini said that the position needed somebody with “decorum and personality” and that Tavecchio’s rival Demetrio Albertini, a former Italy midfielder, was the only suitable candidate.
The election to replace Giancarlo Abete, who quit following Italy’s group stage exit at the World Cup, is due to take place on August 11.
“I read his (Tavecchio’s) words the day after and they left me disconcerted,” Chiellini told reporters at a Juventus news conference yesterday.
“I asked...how Italian football could be heading towards this election and if there was any solution.
“I have nothing personal against Tavecchio but at the moment, the only adequate person for the role is Albertini,” said the 29-year-old.
“We mustn’t let Italian football embarrass itself again. The national team is bigger than Tavecchio but we must avoid having a certain type of figure for these roles.
“We need a person with a certain decorum and personality to perform certain roles.”
FIGC vice-president Tavecchio has received a wave of criticism for his comments, which came at the summer assembly of Italy’s amateur leagues (LND), and FIFA has asked for an investigation.
He made the comment as he suggested that Italy should replicate England’s stringent requirements for non-EU players.