Real Madrid's Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti gives a press conference ahead of the Clasico
Madrid (AFP) - Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti warned his team that Barcelona have been “spectacular” in La Liga, despite their struggles in the Champions League.
Barcelona are on the verge of Champions League elimination after a 3-3 draw at home against Inter Milan on Wednesday, but come into Sunday’s Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu as leaders, unbeaten in the top flight.
Xavi’s side have conceded just one goal all season in La Liga and lead Real Madrid on goal difference, both sides tied on 22 points at the top of the table.
“We’re looking at a team that’s won all their games in La Liga after drawing their first one, they have very good form in the league,” Ancelotti told a press conference on Saturday.
“Since the start of the competition they have done every well. They’ve had trouble in the Champions League, which usually happens in that competition, but in La Liga they have been spectacular.”
The coach remembered last season’s 4-0 defeat by Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu, where in the absence of striker Karim Benzema, he operated with Luka Modric as a false nine.
“It’s true that last year I tried to invent something and I paid the price for it,” said Ancelotti.
“The game last year will not affect us, because this is another season, another Clasico. We’re looking forward to playing this game, which the whole world will watch.”
Ancelotti confirmed that goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is back training after suffering sciatica but will not feature in the Clasico, while Antonio Rudiger can play, wearing a protective mask.
The German defender suffered a bad facial injury against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League, where he scored a last minute goal but clashed heads with the opposition goalkeeper.