Real Madrid moved to the top of the La Liga standings as they secured a statement 3-0 victory over Girona away at Estadi Montilivi.
It was a near-perfect outing for Los Blancos spoiled only by the last-minute red card shown to captain Nacho Fernandez.
Joselu kickstarted the goalscoring on the evening getting on the end of a beautiful pass from Jude Bellingham. Aurelien Tchouameni doubled Real Madrid’s lead with a thumping header from Toni Kroos’ corner.
Bellingham then made it 3-0 in the second half with a fine finish past Paulo Gazzaniga after being set up by Joselu.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media after the game and touched upon various topics, starting off with the way the team had reacted after the defeat to Atletico Madrid to become league leaders.
“It’s early days, but after the defeat in the derby, we reacted well, with desire. We are happy” Ancelotti said.
The manager then discussed the team’s performances, highlighting how Real Madrid defended and attacked well today, saying:
“The team was good. It was a solid and convincing game. We knew we could create damage. Girona play good football. We did the damage when we could and we controlled the defensive phase. Solidity is the most important thing in these matches”.
When probed about what pleased him about the club’s attacking unit today, Ancelotti replied: “In the opposition half we were good on the ball, Vinicius created problems, when we took the lead it was more a game of counter-attacks than control.”
Talking about Vinicius’ performance and the minutes he received today, Ancelotti said: “Well, he wanted to play more, but I preferred to avoid problems. He lacks a bit of spark, because he hasn’t played for a month, but these 70 minutes have been good for him.”
There was a slight tweak in the position of Bellingham during the game, with the Englishman drifting out wide on occasions. When asked about the same, the manager said:
“To avoid Vinicius’ defensive work we put him more on the outside because Tchouameni was very close to the centre-backs to avoid breaks. He played more on the outside, but the team’s defensive work was good.”
Ancelotti raised eyebrows before the game by selecting Eduardo Camavinga at left-back even though both Ferland Mendy and Fran Garcia were fit and available.
When asked what the Frenchman brings in the position, the Real Madrid boss said: “His energy, his enthusiasm, his desire to run, he’s a good option, he played a great game.”
“Mendy hadn’t played for a long time and I thought about putting Fran in, but I wanted to put Vini on the outside and I needed someone like Camavinga behind him to hold the position and hold it better,” he further explained.
“I really liked Tchouameni who scored his first goal for Madrid and played a fantastic game,“ Ancelotti added.
As mentioned earlier, the only blemish on today’s performance for Real Madrid was the sending-off of Nacho late in the game for a horrific tackle on Portu.
But Ancelotti defended his captain, saying that the defender meant no harm and he lacked a bit of clarity in the moment, saying:
“A lack of clarity from Nacho, who is usually a good player, he has apologised and we hope it’s nothing serious for the Girona player. Nobody should have any doubts about Nacho, in this situation, he lacked a bit of clear-headedness.”
Real Madrid youngster in line for significant minutes against Granada – report
Nico Paz was long hyped as Real Madrid Castilla’s brightest upcoming star. The media constantly kept the spotlight on the young Argentine through pre-season as he made a strong impression under Carlo Ancelotti in preseason.
His breakthrough eventually arrived, courtesy of Real Madrid’s injury crisis. He has now made two appearances for the team in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League and even recorded his first goal for the club earlier this week against Napoli.
Taking his chances
As revealed by AS (h/t The Madrid Zone), Paz has impressed management with his cameo against Napoli and will be called up for Real Madrid’s clash against Granada tomorrow.
In fact, there is a good chance he sees significant game time on the night.
After all, Ancelotti is without the likes of Luka Modric, Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga in the middle of the park.
With Toni Kroos, Dani Ceballos, Federico Valverde, and Jude Bellingham filling the starting spots, Paz serves as the manager’s first-choice backup off the bench.
Paz voices his elation
Paz’s introduction against Napoli changed the texture of the game, and it was only poetic that he got the goal that put Real Madrid ahead again on the night.
Speaking to the media after his special night, the Castilla star did not hold back on his emotions.
“This is a dream. For a moment I didn’t even believe it. Very happy to be able to help the team. I dared. I was in automatic mode, I didn’t even know what I was doing. I hit it and well.”
“This is also a message for the other youth players: it is possible to get there. Ancelotti congratulated me, and the whole staff. They are an incredible group and I want to thank them all,” he added, urging his Castilla teammates to keep pushing.