Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti is relaxed and confident his team can turn around their recent poor run by winning Sunday evening's Clasico at Barcelona.
Madrid go into the game under a cloud, with the physical and mental state of superstar Cristiano Ronaldo being questioned, a focus on a run of recent poor results -- including losses at Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilba -- and their close call with a Champions League elimination at home to Schalke.
Such is the mood among Blancos fans and pundits that the local press on the eve of the game suggested Ancelotti could be sacked should his team suffer a painful defeat at the Camp Nou.
Asked at his prematch news conference if his relaxed personality was an advantage in such situations, and whether he feared the axe should the team lose on Sunday, the Italian said his patience had a limit eventually -- but he remained relaxed and confident ahead of the game.
"My personality has helped me to be patient... some say I have patience without limits, but there is a limit," Ancelotti said. "However, I feel good, I have felt good, and I will feel good. I know how this world is, and that I must have a cool head in relations with everyone, with players, journalists and everyone at the club.
"We have not played well recently, not been on a good run, but my confidence in the players remains total. I do not feel my future is on the line. It is an important game for all Madridistas, for the club, as it is for Barcelona.
Ancelotti said that the special atmosphere of a Clasico, and the return to fitness of Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos, should help the team to show the "character" needed to go to Barcelona and win.
"Cristiano is fine. He has had a good week, training well. I believe he is in top spirits at the moment," he said. "In the last few games he has played very well -- he saved the last-16 game against Schalke, has scored goals, given assists. Maybe he is not at his very best, but he has played well."
Ancelotti said Gareth Bale, criticised by some local pundits for not working hard enough for the team, would not have any special defensive instructions for Sunday's game.
"No player has more responsibility than any other," he said. "We all have the same responsibility. I ask from Bale what I ask from the others. We must defend with 11 and attack with 11. It is not that difficult. Bale will play the same position as always. He has never played in midfield."
Ancelotti finished his press duties by saying that he really liked his job, especially when he got to play a role in global spectacles such as the Clasico.
"I like this work, to coach the biggest team in the world -- that motivates me," he said. "I am honoured to play a part in such important games. It is a joy to be on the bench tomorrow. I have the good fortune not to have to buy a ticket for a game like this."