Real Madrid vs Basle preview - Madrid hope for European spark



Posted Monday, September 15, 2014 by PA

Coach Carlo Ancelotti is viewing the start of Real Madrid's Champions League defence against Basle on Tuesday as the ideal chance for his stuttering side to get their season up and running.

Saturday's 2-1 derby defeat at home to Atletico Madrid means star-studded Real have lost two of their opening three Primera Division matches, while they were also beaten by their arch-rivals in the Spanish Supercopa on the eve of the season.

That came after a less than impressive pre-season campaign which saw Real lose to Manchester United, Fiorentina, Roma and Inter Milan (in a penalty shoot-out) and has led to unrest among the club's supporters, who did not hide their frustration against Atletico at the weekend.

There has also been suggestions that star forward Cristiano Ronaldo is unhappy with the summer departures of senior players such as Angel di Maria and Xabi Alonso, with the FIFA Ballon d'Or winner's long-term future at the Bernabeu coming under scrutiny as a result.

It has been a far from ideal time on and off the pitch for the 10-time European champions, but Ancelotti is hoping a good performance against Basle will be the catalyst for better things to come.

"This game comes at the right time for us to have a good reaction and show how good this team is," the Italian said at his pre-match press conference.

"It's very important to start this competition well. Last year we were really determined to do well in this competition and we want to win it again.

"We have a fantastic memory from last season and we're going to fight to repeat it."

While Madrid allowed the likes of Di Maria, Alonso, Diego Lopez and Alvaro Morata to leave this summer, they splashed out almost B£100million on bringing in James Rodriguez, Toni Kroos and Keylor Navas, while Javier Hernandez has joined on loan.

It remains to be seen if the changes have made Madrid stronger or weaker, but Ancelotti insists he would not swap his squad with any other in Europe.

He also pointed out the team are still going through a period of adaptation following this summer's ins and outs .

He said: "I have a very good squad, very competitive and the dressing room thinks the same. No player has any doubts about that and they are all very happy to be here."

On what his side are lacking, he added: "Above all, getting used to new players. We need to get used to James, to Kroos....to play more naturally, but I'm happy with the squad I've got. I wouldn't change this squad for any in Europe."

Madrid will be firm favourites to start their Champions League defence with a win, but Ancelotti is treating Basle with respect.

He said of their Group B rivals: "Basle are a very good team who play dynamic and good football. They have a very precise style and it will not be an easy game. We need to do well to win."



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