For the third time in as many weeks, Real Madrid walked away with three points in the 2023/24 La Liga thanks to a 1-0 win over Celta Vigo. However, the game was perhaps as close as it could get.
The Galicians had no dearth of chances themselves, even scoring early on in the game only to have it disallowed. In the end, Carlo Ancelotti’s men got over the line only thanks to a late goal by Jude Bellingham.
Here are the snippets from Ancelotti’s post-match press conference.
The manager first spoke about the goalscorer on the night, Jude Bellingham, and the decision to take Vinicius Jr off early in the game.
“Bellingham is doing very well, he keeps scoring and contributing to the team. Vinicius had a niggle in the first half and we changed him. We’ll see what it is in the next few hours, it looks like some discomfort in the muscle in his leg.”
Elaborating on the Brazilian winger’s injury, he said that he opted for caution even though the player could have pulled on.
“Vini Jr. wanted to continue and I don’t think it was too serious. He tried and it was niggling him a little bit, so we made the decision to replace him. I don’t think he’ll play against Getafe and the break will help him to recover for when we play again.”
“He had a good start to the game, he seemed unstoppable. It’s a shame. We found it more difficult without him, but also due to the fact that they played very well at the back,” he added on Vini’s performance at Balaidos.
Los Blancos had a chance to open the scoring from the spot in the 68th minute. However, there was visible confusion as to who should assume the duties which ultimately led to Rodrygo missing the penalty. Speaking about the same, Ancelotti said,
“There’s no leeway. I don’t know what happened. I told Valverde that Modrić should take the penalty and I don’t know what happened between them. Vini wasn’t there, he was the one who was supposed to take it. They decided that Rodrygo should take it because I don’t think Valverde was able to tell Modrić that he should have taken it.”
“It angered me a bit, but it could have been a misunderstanding. I don’t think Valverde had time to tell them, I’ll look into it in the next few days,” he added.
Speaking about the debutant on the night, Kepa Arrizabalaga, the Italian gaffer said,
“Kepa played well and we struggled a bit at the back at the beginning and it was difficult for us, but the team played well. A clean sheet is a good sign. This wasn’t a victory purely based on quality, but rather on commitment. There were some negatives, but we battled until the end.”
Ancelotti then spoke in depth about Real Madrid’s performance in the final third and the number of goals they have scored this season despite having lost Karim Benzema.
“The attack is taken care of. We’ve scored six goals without Karim and today without Vini. That means we have what we need. I thought about sending Brahim on but I preferred to keep a balance to avoid any surprises at the end.”
On the tough competition between Andriy Lunin and Kepa for the starting spot in goal, Ancelotti replied,
“He deserved to play, we’ve been well covered by Lunin and Kepa in the last three games. We’ll see about the next game.”
The manager also gave his two cents on Jørgen Strand Larsen’s early goal against Real Madrid which was eventually ruled out by VAR for a foul in the build-up.
“I saw someone grab Kepa’s jersey and I think it was clearly a disallowed goal.”
Bellingham made it four goals in three games with his finish against Celta Vigo last night. Yet, Ancelotti insisted that finishing was not the new signing’s best quality.
“Goals aren’t his biggest quality but he’s doing well. He is good off the ball, he’s intelligent and his timing is good. He’s got a lot of ability on the edge of the area.”
The manager rounded off his presser with a comment on the depth of the squad to compensate for the deficit of several key players in the team.
“This squad is proving that it’s complete. We’re capable of winning without Courtois, Militão, Karim and Vini. This shows that the squad is well-assembled. They’ve done well.”
Source: Real Madrid website
Bellingham on his special assist in Girona 0-3 Real Madrid: “Been watching Luka every day”
Real Madrid usurped the top spot in the La Liga standings from arch-rivals FC Barcelona as they defeated Girona 3-0 away at Estadi Montilivi.
It was a fine performance from Carlo Ancelotti’s men against Michel’s side, with the returning Jude Bellingham leading the way for his team.
After being benched against Las Palmas in midweek, the England international returned to the starting XI today and turned in yet another Man of the Match display for Real Madrid.
It all started with Joselu opening the scoring just 15 minutes into the game, with Bellingham assisting the goal with a special, outside-of-the-boot pass from the left side, bringing back memories of Luka Modric doing something similar a few years ago.
Talking about that special pass, Bellingham said: “I’ve been watching Luka every day for months. I just want to be creative. It took the pressure off us at the start.”
On the match and the result, the 20-year-old stated that it was a good day across the board for Real Madrid, as he said: “It was an important win. They were doing very well. We made a statement of intent to La Liga. Three goals, a clean sheet….”
It has been a truly remarkable start to life at Real Madrid for Bellingham and expressing how he feels to play for the Merengues, he exclaimed:
“I feel very good. I have freedom of movement and I’m enjoying football. Whenever I put on this shirt I always try to do my best.”
Apart from assisting Joselu’s opener, Bellingham also got his name on the scoresheet in the second period. Talking about his goal, the wonderkid said:
“It wasn’t a very good finish. I could have scored some more, but the important thing is the victory.”
The strike meant that Bellingham now has seven goals and two assists across all competitions for Real Madrid. Reflecting on his brilliant start, he said:
“It’s a good start, not bad. I would like to continue on this path and I won’t always score or assist, but I will always give my best.”
Bellingham’s celebration has been a huge hit, with kids in school, players from other clubs, and many others mimicking it. When asked how his special celebration originated, he replied:
“I don’t know where I first celebrated. I think it was with Birmingham. It’s an inspiration to see kids doing it in schools. It’s a wonderful thing.”