Under-fire Ancelotti tells Madrid ‘I am here to stay’

Madrid finished 2014 on the crest of a wave, having set a new Spanish record of 22 straight wins, but less than two months later after a turbulent spell for the European champions, Ancelotti’s future is already being questioned.

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The Madrid press have reported that club president Florentino Perez has been unhappy with Ancelotti’s preparation.

Yet speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Ancelotti responded: “I don’t think that my contract renewal depends on whether we win a trophy this season.

“At the end of the season I think it would be a good moment to talk about the renewal but if that doesn’t happen then it is not a problem as I have a contract until June 2016 and I am here to stay.

“My objective is always to win. When I arrived I knew that I had to win and in all the teams that I have trained the objective has been to win.”

Real have got back on track with victories over Deportivo La Coruna last weekend and Schalke in the Champions League but there is still an open wound following their 4-0 mauling by city rivals Atletico Madrid a fortnight ago.

Much of the attention after that defeat centred on the poor performance of Cristiano Ronaldo, and his subsequent birthday party, but the critics have since turned on Ancelotti.

Madrid face Elche away on Sunday and may need a victory to stay top of the table if Barcelona, a point behind, beat Malaga on Saturday.

While Ancelotti remains very popular among the players, he does not have as strong a relationship with the board and Spanish newspaper El Pais claims Perez would prefer former coach Jose Mourinho, now at Chelsea.

Ancelotti was unusually animated when Marcelo scored the second in the victory over Schalke last Wednesday but denied it was due to criticism he had received.

“I decided to go on the pitch to hug Marcelo because he scored a goal with his right foot. It was to celebrate the goal and not for a personal reason,” said the Italian.

“There is a good relationship between us (in the dressing room). There is a lot of respect towards my work and that of the players.”

(Writing by Tim Hanlon; Editing by Ian Chadband)