Carlo Ancelotti insisted Real Madrid would rival league leaders Barcelona for the championship, claiming it “wasn’t necessary” to bolster the team during the January transfer window.
Madrid are five points adrift their title rivals with 18 games played when they visit Valencia on Thursday while Barcelona is away at Real Betis.
Their only first-team business this summer was agreeing to re-sign left-back Fran Garcia from Rayo Vallecano after choosing not to move in the January market.
“We’ve made some mistakes. You can always do better,” Ancelotti said in a news conference on Wednesday when asked if Madrid could catch Barca at the top of the table. “We’re going at the same rhythm as last year [when Madrid won the league] but Barcelona have done much better.
“I don’t know if it’s a lot of points or not, but right now we’re confident that we can fight until the end, in every competition. A difficult January was predictable. Now the good part starts for us.”
The absence of full-back options David Alaba, Ferland Mendy, Lucas Vazquez, and Aurelien Tchouameni, as well as midfielder Dani Carvajal, has caused a current injury crisis for Madrid.
Carvajal and Tchouameni will return on Thursday, according to Ancelotti, and Alaba might be available this weekend.
“We didn’t move in the transfer market because we didn’t need to,” Ancelotti said. “If you plan well in the summer, you don’t need to go into the winter market… If you move in January, it means something has happened — an injury or a lot of things, bad planning too — we thought it wasn’t necessary.”
“It could have been an option [to bring him in now],” Ancelotti said. “But we looked at two things. First, Mendy could recover from his injury soon, and second, it’s good for Fran Garcia to stay at Rayo to get more experience.”
Karim Benzema and Luka Modric may be following Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined Al Nassr last month, by considering moves to Saudi Arabia, according to a report in the daily El Mundo on Wednesday.
“They don’t need my advice,” Ancelotti said. “Madrid legends should stay at Madrid.”