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Ancelotti: Real Need To Forget About Lead

Real Madrid coach, Carlo Ancelotti, confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane will start in the second leg of the La Liga semi-final clash with city rivals Atletico Madrid, and urges his players to remain focused.

The Los Blancos won the first leg at Bernabeau 3-0 and enter the derby with a massive advantage, but the Italian says it would be best if his players forget about their lead.

"We have a significant advantage but we need to play with the same focus as in the first leg to avoid problems,” Ancelotti said.

“We shouldn’t change our philosophy and we have to play with intensity to have possession. The best thing is to not to think about the lead that we have.

“It will be difficult because they are a very strong team".

The Real Madrid coach confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo will start and long-term absentee, Raphael Varane, will replace one of his two centre-backs, Pepe and Sergio Ramos, who are both one booking away from suspension.

"Matches between two teams from the same city are always more intense than normal,” Ancelotti continued.

“(But) it is not good preparing for a match thinking about not picking up any bookings, it is more important to focus on how we’re going to play".

"We have no problems. Varane will play and one of the two of them will rest. Varane needs to play.

“He has everything it takes to be a good defender: quality, speed, tactical awareness, good positioning, enthusiasm.

“It is important that he has recovered well because the other centre-backs get a chance to rest."

When asked about this year’s title race, with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico, only devided by a couple of goals, Ancelotti responded: 

"We're doing well. We are playing consistently and are keen to do well in all competitions,” he added.

“It is an important part of the season and right now we have the same chance to win the league as the other two teams."

The Los Blancos are 23 games unbeaten - a personal record for Ancelotti - and are yet to concede a goal in this year’s Copa del Rey, with Iker Casillas going a record-breaking 772 minutes without conceding a goal.

Will Real Madrid be able to hold on to their lead and book their place in this year’s Copa del Rey final or can Atletico Madrid bounce back? Have your say in the comment section below.

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