Real Madrid are united now, says Ancelotti
Madrid: Carlo Ancelotti was keen to stress the dressing room divisions that characterised the end of Jose Mourinho`s reign at Real Madrid were healed as he shaped up for his La Liga opener on Sunday.
The Italian makes his league debut at the helm when Real Betis visit the Bernabeu and he does so with the fans, the local media and the players all seemingly singing from the same hymn sheet.
"In a season it is normal to have problems, but when a team is united they are resolved quickly," Ancelotti told a news conference on Saturday.
"For now, the team is united and I hope it continues this way."
The 54-year-old also stressed the team`s style of play would be different to that practiced by his predecessor.
"The idea isn`t to play on the counter-attack," he said. "The idea is to play football, to have a good control of the ball, and possession.
"My experience with AC Milan, Chelsea and Paris St Germain was the same. I wanted to play attacking football because that is what the club asked for. Here, it is no different."
Real have already signed a right back and three midfielders to strengthen their squad for the new campaign, but there is one name that continues to grab the headlines, Gareth Bale.
There are two weeks to go until the end of the transfer window with Real president Florentino Perez seemingly intent on securing the Tottenham Hotspur winger, with talk of a world record bid of around 100 million euros.
Asked about the negotiations, Ancelotti was evasive.
"Great players make a team better," he said as he went on to refute that the club not having assigned the shirt number 11, the same Bale wears at Spurs, was for any particular reason.
"It isn`t reserved for Bale," he said. "It is only that no one has claimed it in the squad.
"The squad in principle is complete. We only need to evaluate the position of (Portugal defender) Fabio Coentrao, because he has asked to leave. He has been left out of the squad to play Betis.
"I am very pleased with this group because they have good balance between youth and experience."
Ancelotti approaches his debut with three important players struggling to come back from injuries.
Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso had surgery on a nagging groin problem in June, France defender Raphael Varane knee surgery in May and new signing Asier Illarramendi has only managed one training session before succumbing to a muscle problem.
"Xabi isn`t ready to play," Ancelotti said. "He is close to reappearing and perhaps he will in the friendly next Thursday.
"Illarramendi is working alone to be ready in about 10 days time. Varane is working alone to strengthen his leg to avoid problems with the knee. In a week he will be working with the group again."