Football: I have the best squad in Europe, insists Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti attends a news conference before the team's Uefa Super Cup soccer match against Sevilla at Cardiff City Stadium, Wales, on August 11, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti attends a news conference before the team's Uefa Super Cup soccer match against Sevilla at Cardiff City Stadium, Wales, on August 11, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID (AFP) - Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has said he would not swap his squad for any other in Europe as Los Blancos prepare to begin their defence of the Champions League against Basel on Tuesday, Sept 16, 2014.

Madrid have suffered a horror start to the new season as they already trail Barcelona by six points in La Liga having lost at Real Sociedad and at home to La Liga champions Atletico Madrid in a repeat of the Champions League final on Saturday.

However, despite selling two key players in last season's triumph, Angel di Maria and Xabi Alonso, towards the end of the transfer window, Ancelotti believes he has the talent at his disposal to become the first side to retain the trophy in the Champions League era.

"I feel like a coach that has to fix things with the team just like last season. This match arrives at the right time because any game can be good for the team to react," said the Italian.

"We have a lot of desire for this competition, we want to be competitive and try to win it again.

"It is a motivating factor to be competitive in the most important competition in the world. We have good memories of last season's competition and we will fight to repeat it this season. I wouldn't change this squad for any other in Europe."

The loss of Di Maria and Alonso leaves Ancelotti short on options to change the side that lost to Atletico, but there have been widespread calls for him to make a change in goal with Costa Rican World Cup star Keylor Navas yet to make his debut since sealing a 10 million euro (S$16.4 million) move from Levante.

Ancelotti has stuck by captain Iker Casillas and hinted he intended to do so for the rest of the season despite the Spaniard being booed by large swathes of the Madrid fans after conceding from a corner for the third time in two games as Atletico took an early lead at the Bernabeu at the weekend.

"Casillas has experience and character to deal with this situation without any problem," added Ancelotti.

"The debate for me is closed. I want to be clear that in our team the debate doesn't exist. I will not speak of the goalkeepers this season."

Real are expected to cruise through Group B along with five-time European champions Liverpool, but Ancelotti highlighted the danger posed by Basel, who beat Chelsea home and away in last year's competition despite failing to progress to the last 16.

"Basel are a very good team. They play a dynamic football that I like.

"They are a dangerous team because last year they beat Chelsea. They started their season earlier so they are already up to speed and are physically very strong."

Another of the Madrid superstars under fire is James Rodriguez as the Colombian has failed to live up to his 75 million euro price tag in a series of laboured displays so far this season.

However, he is also sure that his new side have too much talent for their losing streak to continue against the Swiss champions.

"Yes, we have started badly, but I think we have the players to get out of this situation and start winning. Tomorrow is a great opportunity to start winning and make things right," he said.