Ancelotti: Copa del Rey is not enough for Real Madrid

The Italian believes his side’s strong form in the new year means they can justifiably set their sights on lifting both Liga and Champions League crowns this season

Carlo Ancelotti has warned that winning the Copa del Rey would not be enough for Real Madrid this season.

Madrid have won all seven of their matches in January to close the gap at the top of La Liga to a single point and progress to the quarter-final of the Copa against Espanyol, whom they beat 1-0 in the first leg.

Victory over Granada on Saturday briefly put Ancelotti’s side top of the table and he wants January to be the launch pad to a successful season run-in as they prepare for their Champions League last 16 clash with Schalke next month.

“We have to close a great January with a good game against Espanyol,” the Italian said ahead of the match with Espanyol.

“We have a small advantage, but it is an open tie and we need to prepare well and play it well, with the best possible team to reach the semi-finals.

“The month was very good. January helped us cut points in the league, to have more confidence in the team. The month was very good and we have to close it well tomorrow against Espanyol.

“Winning the Copa del Rey is not enough for us. We want to win as many titles as possible.

“We are in a great physical shape at the moment, but we have to be careful because we are playing a lot of games.”

Ancelotti went on to confirm that Gareth Bale will not feature in the clash after the Wales international was substituted at half-time against Granada with a leg injury, meaning Jese Rodriguez will start.

“He (Bale) tried to train but had discomfort in his left leg,” Ancelotti added. “We prefer (him) to recover and will not play tomorrow. He will train this week to try and play on Sunday.

“Jese will play in his place.”

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