Ancelotti: Brains will win Clasico

The Real Madrid boss says his side will have to play it smart if they are to beat Barcelona, and added that Cristiano Ronaldo arrives at Camp Nou at the peak of his powers

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti says Sunday’s Clasico against Barcelona will be won not with athleticism, but brains.

The reigning European champions come into the weekend following a difficult couple of weeks for the Italian, after one victory in four games gave birth to reports he had lost the support of the Madrid hierarchy.

But the Italian says his side are confident of Clasico victory, regardless of the current form.

“The team is looking good physically. Having Modric and Ramos will help us a lot. The team has improved its physical condition. But tomorrow fitness won’t win the game. It will be won in the head,” Ancelotti told a press conference.

“I have never gone into a game settling for a draw in my career.Tomorrow will be no different.  We have the quality to win it, but so do they. Neither team will be settling for a draw.

He added: “The keys are for us to play our best possible game in defence and attack, to play with personality and character and impose our game… I have total confidence. In the last period we haven’t played well, but my confidence is total.”

The former Chelsea and Juventus coach also said Cristiano Ronaldo is in peak shape for the clash, and insisted Gareth Bale will no have special instructions after the Welshman’s recent displays have – perhaps harshly –earned criticism of late.

“Ronaldo is in good shape. He trained very well this week. He is at his peak. But all of the players are. There will be no attitude or concentration lacking tomorrow,” Ancelotti continued.

“I don’t think there will be any one player with more responsibility than the others. We all have the same. What I will ask Bale is what I will ask the other – we will defend as an XI and attack as an XI. The strategy is not too complicated.”

He also conceded that Lionel Messi would pose a serious danger to his side’s hopes of returning to the top of La Liga. Madrid sit one point behind leaders Barcelona ahead of the clash at Camp Nou, but Ancelotti doesn’t consider Luis Enrique’s side favourites.

“I haven’t gone crazy this week. We have prepared the match well, the strategy of the game. We will try to do what we will need to win it. Messi is in good shape, like everyone at Barcelona. They are playing well, with quality, and Messi above all,” he said.

“Being favourite or not doesn’t depend on runs of form. They are on a better run than us. But it is a difficult game for both teams. We have a lot of confidence. It’s a great opportunity for us. They have been leaders for two weeks and if we win, we can go back to the top.”

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