Ancelotti sends out Barcelona warning ahead of El Clasico

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The Italian was delighted by his side’s performance against Liverpool as Real Madrid approach the clash on Saturday in imperious form

Carlo Ancelotti says his Real Madrid side are “where they want to be” heading into Saturday’s Clasico showdown with Barcelona.

Madrid were too strong for Liverpool on Wednesday, winning their Champions League encounter 3-0 thanks to a stunning Cristiano Ronaldo strike and a double from Karim Benzema.

With Barca beating Ajax 3-1 24 hours earlier, it means both teams go into the weekend in a positive frame of mind.

Ancelotti told Sky Sports: “I think we are in really great form. We are focused and fit. Barcelona are going into the game in a good position but we are where we want to be and playing well.”

Such was Madrid’s dominance at Anfield that Ancelotti could afford to bring off Ronaldo with Barca in mind.

“I noticed that he’d worked very, very hard in the game and we’d worked hard on the counterattack, and we decided that it was time to give him a rest. We didn’t discuss his substitution beforehand,” said the Italian.

“I didn’t ask him if he wanted to come off. It’s not something that’s possible to do, to ask a player in the middle of the match.”

Madrid are now six points clear at the top of Group B and a win against Liverpool in the return fixture next month would guarantee the defending champions a place in the knockout stages.

Ancelotti added: “This is a very, very important victory, we played great football in a great atmosphere. We played a team who wanted to make it difficult for us but we were able to play our football throughout.

“I am very satisfied. We played with quality and personality. The team has a lot of maturity and confidence.

“We defended well at first by controlling the initial intensity of Liverpool. Then we played with pace, quality and clear ideas.”

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