Real Madrid – Levante Preview: Blancos boss Ancelotti in dire need of a win

The Italian coach is under intense pressure after last weekend’s Liga loss at Athletic Bilbao and Tuesday’s Champions League defeat at home to Schalke

The visit of Levante could provide the perfect tonic for a Real Madrid side in desperate need of a Liga win at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

Real have fallen a point behind Barcelona at the top of the table following a 1-1 draw with Villarreal and a 1-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao.

Their slump continued on Tuesday with a 4-3 loss to Schalke in the Champions League last 16 second leg, with Real narrowly progressing 5-4 on aggregate.

That disappointing defensive performance has led to speculation over the future of coach Carlo Ancelotti, with reports suggesting the Italian could be removed from his post.

However, club president Florentino Perez has insisted he has faith in the man who led them to the Decima glory last term.

Additionally, there has been concern over the form of forward Gareth Bale, who has not scored since the 2-1 win at Cordoba in January.

Despite Real’s recent struggles, Ancelotti should be confident of a win to ease the strain on his shoulders versus a Levante side who sit fourth bottom in the division.

The Valencia-based outfit have a dreadful record against Real, having lost six straight games to the European champions, a run that includes a 5-0 home defeat to the capital club back in October.

Attacking midfielder James Rodriguez remains out of action for Real with a fractured metatarsal, but Luka Modric is expected to start after making his return from a thigh injury on Tuesday.

Defender Sergio Ramos could join Modric in the side following his recovery from a hamstring tear that has kept him on the sidelines for over a month.

Levante hauled themselves out of the bottom three with a 2-1 win over Eibar last weekend that marked only their sixth of a disappointing campaign.

It could be suggested that Levante, given the hosts’ apparent turmoil, are facing Real at the perfect time,

Yet coach Lucas Alcaraz was quick to play down the potential impact of Real’s form in the last few games.

He told Levante’s official website: “We prefer to think of what things must be done well to win. The potential of Madrid is always high.

“The moment of the rival is not something that depends on us. The timetable is as it comes.

“We won our last game, but there is a vast difference between the potential of Madrid and our own.”

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03 2015
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