On Sunday, Real Madrid recorded their second defeat in three games across all competitions as they fell tamely to Barcelona at King Fahd Stadium in the finals of the Spanish Super Cup. What was more shocking, however, was the manner of their defeat.
Real Madrid were nowhere close to Barcelona’s level and were totally outclassed for ninety minutes. The scoreline, despite depicting a dominant win for the Catalans, is kind on Los Blancos for the game could have finished with a margin of even five goals.
Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media after the game in a rather short press conference and highlighted the flaws in his team without blaming any individual in particular. Here are the snippets from his media interaction on Sunday night:
On what went wrong on the night: “Our mistakes have decided the game. We have not been successful in getting the ball out and they have scored two goals like that. From there the game changed. It was a bad match for everyone and there was no lack of attitude.”
On whether Real Madrid were humiliated by Barcelona: “In my head there is no talk of humiliation, that’s too much. In sports sometimes you win and other times they beat you. We have lost a game with Barcelona, as we beat them in La Liga. They have played better and they have deserved it”.
On the feeling in the dressing room: “The team is hurt because they usually win finals, but we have all the resources to improve. There is no doubt that Real Madrid will always come back.
“It is not a critical moment, but it is complicated and difficult, as usually happens during a season. Usually there are moments of difficulty and that is why we have to fix it soon with the commitment and attitude of always.”
On the lack of intensity from the team: “The team has not been very intense and not very successful. We have had 25 losses in the first half, little intensity in the one-on-one one, and we have lost many duels. It has been an incomplete match in all aspects.”
On the defensive problems: “When you concede three goals it means that you have to improve the defensive aspect. Players need to realize that these mistakes are easy to avoid. Before the errors, both teams had an opportunity to score.
“Later, when they take the lead, they are closer to winning and it is difficult to come back, as happened to us in the league game ”.
On whether they will treat this game as a turning point: “The moment of the team is not good, but we have to hold on since this team has the quality to return and be competitive in all the competitions that lie ahead. We are very hurt because we usually win the finals, but there are still many titles in play and we will be there until the end.
On the improvements needed: “We have to raise our heads and think carefully about what we are going to do. We will be competitive and forceful again, but we must improve the defensive aspect, which is costing us more at the moment”.
Source: Real Madrid
Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Valencia
For all the institutional and sporting catastrophes Valencia suffer from, they put up a resilient show against Real Madrid last month and held them to a draw in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup.
Having fired Gennaro Gattuso less than 48 hours ago, Los Che will be under the command of an interim coach at Santiago Bernabeu in the hope of repeating their feat from Saudi Arabia.
After all, they are struggling this season with just 20 points in 18 league appearances.
Valencia may not be the top team it used to be a couple of seasons ago, but there is a fighting spirit to the squad that makes them special.
As Real Madrid looks to make amends for their dropped points against La Real, some important considerations cross the manager’s mind regarding the clash against Los Che.
Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Valencia.
1. More names at Ancelotti’s disposal
Real Madrid’s long injury list has been a thorn in Carlo Ancelotti’s feet for a long time now. While the manager has had close to five players unavailable through fitness concerns, two names were considered irreplaceable.
Daniel Carvajal is the first on that list. The Spanish International’s presence gave the club hope after Lucas Vazquez’s injury last month, but almost as if planned, the 30-year-old immediately suffered a blow in training and was forced to sit out.
For four games, Ancelotti was thus forced to field Nacho Fernandez as his right-back. The centre-back did a good job at covering out of position, however, will be pushed back to the bench on Thursday as Los Blancos celebrate the return of Carvajal.
The defender is not the only one making his way back, as Aurelien Tchouameni also received the medical all-clear earlier this week.
The French pivot hobbled off an hour into Real Madrid’s league clash against Villarreal in the first week of January and has been sidelined for close to a month.
His absence pushed his coach to try numerous permutations in midfield, but it was finally Eduardo Camavinga who stamped his authority on the position.
With Tchouameni back roaring, his place in the starting lineup seems to be written in stone. One can expect the Frenchman to be deployed alongside Toni Kroos and Dani Ceballos for his return to action on Thursday.
2. Concern shifts from right to left-back
The Merengues will finally have a natural right-back available to play against Valencia midweek. However, that does not signal the end of the Italian tactician’s trouble-riddles period.
Just when one full-back position returned to a state of normalcy, Real Madrid now have a crisis at left-back.
Ferland Mendy picked up a thigh injury earlier this week and will miss the team’s next two months of action at least. To say that this is a big blow to the club’s plans would be an understatement, for Mendy was the only natural left-back available in the squad.
David Alaba would appear to be the best-placed alternative, but the Austrian is ruled out through injury himself. Placed at a lack of options, Ancelotti confirmed in his press conference earlier today that Eduardo Camavinga would play there against Valencia.
The youngster has played in the defensive position earlier but will face the heat going up against Jose Luis Gaya at Santiago Bernabeu.
Given that Valencia’s right flank put up a memorable display when the two teams met last month, one can be certain that Camavinga’s performance can make or break Real Madrid’s night.
3. No margin for error
Less than halfway through the league season, Los Blancos already find themselves five points behind Barcelona. The wide gap is not a consequence of the defending champions’ poor form but the sheer consistency of Xavi Hernandez’s men, who cannot stop winning.
Having won the Supercopa de Espana last month, the Catalans are currently riding high on confidence. With their season heading from strength to strength, Real Madrid must hold on and wait for the right opportunity to topple the tables.
The Galacticos‘ draw against Real Sociedad added two points to the gap between the top two sides last week. At this stage, Ancelotti’s men cannot afford any further slip-ups for a larger gap would be too much for the men in white to compensate.
Every game henceforth will be a final for Real Madrid in La Liga. Three points are the bare minimum the club can walk away with from any fixture, and that mission will start from their game against Valencia.