Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has urged his squad to show their quality amid a wrath of players testing positive for COVID-19.
Los Blancos travel to Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday evening in a tough examination. Ancelotti’s men are five points clear at the top of La Liga. They’ll be looking to bounce back from their 0-0 draw against Cadiz.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Ancelotti said: “It’ll be a very entertaining and tough game, at San Mamés, a place where the fans create an atmosphere I really like.
“We have some players missing, but it could be an opportunity to demonstrate the quality of the whole squad. We’re going to prepare for the game well and try to get the win, like always.
“A fortnight ago against Athletic we saw that they play much more direct and aggressive football, so it’s going to be different to the game against Cadiz.”
Camavinga to be given a chance
The decorated coach has overseen a superb recent run of form thanks to a settled side. Due to COVID-19, he will have to fall back on some lesser-used squad players against Bilbao.
“We’ve got Casemiro and Modrić out, it’s a chance for players like Camavinga, who hasn’t played much this recent period. We’re considering him for today and for the future, like Valverde. It could be a big opportunity for these players tomorrow.
“I don’t know if I’ll change the system because we’ve had a lot of success with it recently.
“It’s true that we don’t have a winger on the right so it might be better to use a 4-4-2, but I’m not sure. I have to wait, the evening gives me advice”.
With Marco Asensio and Rodrygo both struck down by the virus, Eden Hazard was handed a rare start.
“I’ll have to assess him as he played all 90 minutes and we’ll have a look at him after training today,” Ancelotti said. “He’s not a winger who plays out wide, he likes the left wing, but behind the striker.
“I want the player to be comfortable in the position where he plays. Hazard is training well, at a good intensity. If I play him tomorrow, I don’t think it’ll be a physical risk.”
Real Madrid without 11 absentees
Los Blancos are without 11 first-team players ahead of Wednesday’s trip to face tenth-placed Athletic Bilbao.
David Alaba is the latest player to test positive for COVID-19 and will be unavailable in defence.
The Swiss centre-back joins Luka Modric, Marcelo, Gareth Bale, Marco Asensio, Rodrygo, Isco and Adriy Lunin in testing positive and being forced into isolation.
Added to that, Real Madrid are with the injured Dani Ceballos and Dani Carvajal whilst Casemiro is suspended in midfield.
The outbreak has seen Ancelotti add seven academy players to his travelling party for the match.
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