Carlo Ancelotti is keen for Real Madrid to strike the right balance between attack and defense when his side take on Juvents in Turin looking for a victory to seal their place in the knockout phase.
Since Madrid’s victory over the Italian champions at the Bernabeu two weeks ago and their subsequent Clasico loss, Ancelotti’s men have scored 10 goals in two matches against Sevilla and Rayo Vallecano. However, they have also conceded five times in those two outings, a pattern that the Italian is aware can’t continue.
“The problem is that we sometimes lose our balance, our confidence, and don’t defend well,” he said, according to Real Madrid’s official website.
The free-flowing goals at both ends has coincided with the introduction of big summer signing Gareth Bale into the starting lineup to form a front three alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. But Ancelotti rejects the notion that the trio will always cause the team to be unbalanced.
“They are playing very well,” he said. “I have often heard that the relationship between them is difficult and at the moment the attacking combinations are very good. I hope they carry on like that. The defensive system is not shaped by them because I don’t want to lose the attacking clarity that we need. They have to get into good positions and keep the team compact, but it is normal that the other seven have to do the defensive work with more intensity.”
Ronaldo has been particularly prolific in the Champions League thus far, scoring seven times as Madrid have won their first three games to lie on the verge of the last 16. It has been a different story for Juventus, who have just two points from their opening matches and badly in need of a result at the Juventus Stadium on Tuesday.
The club’s big summer recruit, Carlos Tevez, has yet to find the net in the Champions League for his new club and, indeed, hasn’t scored in Europe’s top competition since April 2009 when he was with Manchester United. It was a fact that surprised even him.
"I really hadn't realized it was so long since I last scored,” he said, according to Uefa.com. “If I haven't scored for four years, then let's hope that changes tomorrow."
Juventus have won all three Serie A matches since their 2-1 defeat in Madrid to close the gap at the top of the table to three points. Tevez is fully aware that the same form is required if they are to avoid an early exit from the Champions League.
“Real Madrid are strong -- there's no doubt about it -- but I have to look at our next three games and I think they are all like finals, not just this one; we've got to win all three,” he explained. “This game is like a final and we've got to play it like that. I hope it will be a brilliant game for everybody."
Prediction: Antonio Conte reverted from Juventus’ traditional three-man backline in Madrid and looks set to do the same by lining up in a 4-3-3. It should work well in giving them extra protection down the flanks, where Madrid can be so dangerous. Indeed, Juventus were unfortunate to come away from that first match with nothing following the controversial sending off of Giorgio Chiellini.
There is reason to believe that Juventus can right those wrongs and get a positive result in Turin. Bale, Ronaldo and Benzema have been in scintillating form and will trouble any team in the world. The prospect of Ronaldo and Bale going up against probable full-backs Martin Caceres and Kwadwo Asamoah doesn’t bode well for the Bianconeri. Yet there is also a greater imbalance in Madrid’s team without the more disciplined Angel di Maria. And If Juventus can use the strongest area of their team, the midfield, to limit the ability of Madrid’s midfield to get the ball to the front three then they could clinch a must-needed victory.
Juventus 2-1 Real Madrid
Where to watch: The Champions League Group B match will kick off at 2.45 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by Fox Sports 2, with a live stream available on Fox Soccer 2Go.