Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has warned Shakhtar Donetsk that his side will be determined to “bounce back” from their disappointing league result at the weekend in Wednesday’s Champions League affair.
Los Blancos saw a nine-game winning run in all competitions at the start of this season come to an end on Sunday when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Osasuna in Spain’s top flight.
The result saw the reigning champions relinquish control of first spot in the table to Barcelona, but the Whites have recorded back-to-back wins in the Champions League this season, beating Celtic 3-0 in Scotland before recording a 2-0 victory over RB Leipzig at Bernabeu in the middle of September.
Real Madrid will now welcome Shakhtar to the Spanish capital, and Ancelotti has refused to play down the importance of the contest with the Ukrainian giants.
“We know this will be an important match to try to reach nine points. After Sunday’s draw, we also want to bounce back well against this dangerous opponent, with quick forwards on the counter,” Ancelotti told reporters during his pre-match press conference.
“We have full respect for this opponent. It’s a shame that they have many issues to overcome in terms of training and travelling.”
Ancelotti also addressed suggestions that Real Madrid were not the best side in the Champions League last season and were fortunate to win the trophy.
“What does it mean to be the best? It’s not just about having the ball, as there are many parts to football. In the Champions League, the small details might be more important,” he added.
“I think Real Madrid is the club that has best managed these fine margins in the history of this competition. You can concede three goals quickly, which has happened to me in a final, or you can score two late goals back to back, which has just happened for me in a semi-final.
“But, it’s not about luck. Speaking about luck is masking the problems you have and not giving credit to the opponent. If we say we were unlucky against Osasuna, for example, that would be hiding our problems and the merit of the opponent.”
Real Madrid have been boosted by the returns of Luka Modric and Lucas Vazquez for the clash against Shakhtar, with both players overcoming their injury problems.
However, Dani Ceballos is out of the match with a hamstring issue, while Thibaut Courtois is still sidelined with the back problem that forced him to miss out against Osasuna.
Ancelotti said on Tuesday that the Belgium international is “much better” but also faces a battle to be available for selection against Getafe in the league this weekend.
“He’s much better. We have doubts against Getafe, but it could be that next week he’ll be against Shakhtar and against Barca, obviously,” said the Italian when asked for an injury update.
Real Madrid will play another eight matches during a busy October, including two clashes with Shakhtar, while they will also take on Getafe, Barcelona, Elche, Sevilla, RB Leipzig and Girona before the end of the month.