We have to improve in defence, says Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti

Performances have improved but it is too early to conclude Real Madrid have put their early-season stutter behind them, coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Monday.

Reuters| Last Updated: Sep 23, 2014, 23:44 PM IST
We have to improve in defence, says Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti

Madrid: Performances have improved but it is too early to conclude Real Madrid have put their early-season stutter behind them, coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Monday.

Real lost two La Liga matches in a row, at Real Sociedad and at home to Atletico Madrid, before bouncing back with a 5-1 win against FC Basel in the Champions League last week and an 8-2 rout of Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.

Ancelotti, who is attempting to integrate new signings Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez in midfield and fix a leaky defence, said he was pleased with the way the Real players had reacted during their last two outings.

However, the Italian, in his second season in charge, added that the European champions still needed "another good result to boost confidence and consistency".

"The result against Deportivo was very good but it could be misleading because we still have to improve certain aspects of our game," Ancelotti told a news conference previewing Tuesday`s La Liga match at home to Elche.

"We have the same problem we had last year, but our attacking game is much better," he added.

"We have to improve in defence but I think we are in better shape than this time last year."

Real have conceded nine goals in their last four matches in all competitions, although weakness in defence will not be too much of a problem if players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale maintain their prolific form.

Ancelotti could be without first-choice centre backs Sergio Ramos and Pepe for the Elche game and neither player trained with their team mates on Monday.

"Pepe has still not recovered from the small problem he has in his hamstring," Ancelotti said.

"Sergio has a foot problem and we are waiting to see if he can shake it off."

After hosting Elche on Tuesday, Real play at Villarreal on Saturday before an away fixture at Bulgarian champions Ludogorets in the Champions League on Oct. 1.