Carlo Ancelotti refuses to change Real Madrid’s lineup against Schalke

Carlo Ancelotti has stated he will not alter Real Madrid’s lineup for tomorrow’s UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg against Schalke 04, despite a string of recent poor performances.

The lack of goals from Madrid’s attacking trio of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo (BBC) has been noticeable since the start of the New Year. While acknowledging the struggles of his front three, Ancelotti stressed their place in his starting eleven against Schalke is “not up for negotiation”.

“The BBC, if they’re okay, are not up for negotiation,” Ancelotti said during his pre-match press conference today. “What they have given us is a lot.”

“They are going through a rough patch, but so is the whole team, not just the three up in attack. The team is not playing at the right level and that doesn’t help the forwards much.”

Questions have been asked by fans and the media about the manager’s formation and the responsibilities he has given individual players. However, Ancelotti is confident the system he has selected will work, as it has in the past.

“I’ll play them in the same way. We’re not going to change our identity because that is where the players feel most comfortable. In the past, they have given us great results and scored a lot of goals.”

It is understood Ancelotti blasted the team in private following their performance during Madrid’s 1-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

When asked about the post-match “discussion” with his players, Ancelotti responded: “After what I had seen during the game, I gave them my opinion about the difficulties we had. They understood and we agreed.”

Ancelotti has yet to be offered a contract extension with Madrid and the team’s recent performances have raised questions about whether or not club president Florentino Perez is happy with the job the manager is doing.

Following Real Madrid’s derby defeat to Atletico Madrid, Perez reportedly showed up at training and held face to face meetings with the players and his manager.

While admitting his team is suffering from a lack of form, Ancelotti stressed the club’s issues are a problem he needs to solve.

“When a team is not doing well, I know that it is 100% the manager’s fault,” Ancelotti concluded. “I also know that when they win, all the merit is the team’s. That’s quite clear.”

“He [Perez] has called me many times to give his support and encouragement. He has helped me a lot; the club is behind me.”



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