Carlo Ancelotti says Real Madrid's goal remains to win every trophy possible this season, despite sitting eight points behind Barcelona in LaLiga.
Madrid have already won the Club World Cup, have qualified for the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey and are well on their way to the last eight of the Champions League after their 5-2 first leg win at Liverpool in the round of 16 on Tuesday.
However, they have dropped points in five of their last 11 league games to fall well behind Barca in the title race, also losing to the Blaugrana in the Supercopa de Espana final.
Speaking ahead of Saturday's derby against Atletico Madrid, head coach Ancelotti recognised things could be better, but he is confident of pushing Madrid's Clasico rivals all the way in the remaining 16 league games.
"We're going to try to win every competition. We're second in the league, so that won't be easy," he said, later adding: "No, I am not happy with the season [so far].
"I would rather be eight points clear and have won the Supercopa de Espana, and a 5-0 result at Anfield would have been better than 5-2, but still, we're doing very well... Hopefully we can recover those lost points [in the league]."
- Welcome to @OptaJoe's Thursday Thread, where we'll take a look at the spell-binding rise of Vinícius Júnior. The Brazilian has either scored (6) or assisted (2) in all six games he’s started in the Champions League this season. Baila. pic.twitter.com/er4SbRC1Ud— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 23, 2023
Vinicius Junior was again key at Anfield in midweek, scoring twice, and Ancelotti spoke highly of the in-form Brazilian.
"He works hard, looks after himself, and it is so important that he can keep playing at this level and avoid injuries," he said.
"What Vinicius shows on the field is what he always tries in training. He has improved a lot in his finishing because he has trained a lot. After training, Vinicius spends 10 to 15 minutes to improve his shooting.
"The challenge ahead is continuity. Trying for 90 minutes, that's what's difficult."
Ancelotti revealed that midfield pair Aurelien Tchouameni and Toni Kroos will be available again after illness, while he also confirmed Nacho will start at left-back against Atletico amid uncertainty around his long-term future at the club.
"I see Nacho every day and there has been a time when he was not happy," he said. "He has not complained to me, and he has continued to suffer the period that he has not played. He has been a professional, and at the moment I always needed him, he has complied.
"I have a weakness which is that [I have to make sure] Madrid is happy... and that only happens if we win. I feel sorry for my players because I am very fond of them. I just want Real Madrid to be satisfied."