Real Madrid made easy work of Valencia at the Santiago Bernabeu last night, putting five goals past them mercilessly. The result was made possible by braces from Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo Goes, both of whom were sublime on the night.
The 5-1 win keeps the club within two points of leaders Girona after the Catalans completed a comeback win against Rayo Vallecano earlier in the day.
Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the press after his team’s emphatic result over Valencia and spoke about a plethora of positives to take away. Yet, he began by reiterating how helpless he was over failing to provide all players the minutes they deserve.
“In my job, it’s unfair to some players when you have a squad of this level. Today Modrić could have played from the start. He was on the bench, but then he came on. Unfortunately, it’s my job and it’s not easy.”
“Today was the best game of the season so far. We could have defended better in the first 15 minutes, but after that the game was perfect,” he added on Saturday’s performance.
The manager lauded his two Brazilian pearls, Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo Goes, for their return to form in recent weeks.
“Vinicius and Rodrygo are back to their best. They needed time to get back to their best and show their quality.”
“In the last two games, they’ve done very well. They combined well, looked for space, and played with exceptional quality. You can say they are back,” he added.
Despite being named in the squad, Jude Bellingham was left out of action owing to a lack of stability in his shoulder joint after the recent dislocation.
“Bellingham is going to England to be assessed, but he’ll be back soon. If he can’t play today, he can’t play for them,” Ancelotti said about the young phenom’s upcoming international duty.
“He needs to do some specific work over the next few weeks to strengthen his shoulder. He’ll be ready to play after the international break,” he added.
The manager went on to summarise how Real Madrid’s last three results show progressive improvement and emphasised certain values he was happy to see in his team.
“The last three games at home have been very good. We lacked precision against Rayo Vallecano, but in the other two, we were a very complete team. We played good football, with quality, solidity, sacrifice, and commitment.”
Dani Carvajal opened the scoring against Valencia in just the third minute of the game after converting a well-worked assist from Toni Kroos.
“Carvajal has experience in his position. He’s a very good full-back with and without the ball and knows the position very well. He scored a spectacular goal,” Ancelotti praised the defender.
The coach also has words of affirmation for the other goalscorers and impact players on the night, saying:
“We played very well out wide when we used Rodrygo with Carvajal and then Vinicius and Brahim on the left. That’s how we won the game.”
“Vinicius did very well, as did Rodrygo. I’ll take the work of the team as well as their effort. I like to evaluate the collective work and we did a great job in that respect,” he elaborated.
Speaking on Eduardo Camavinga who has been covering the defensive midfield in Aurelien Tchouameni’s absence, the manager commented,
“He does very well in all the positions I put him in. He’s more used to the pivot position and with the absence of Tchouameni he has shown what he can do.”
The manager was then asked about his decision to bring Nico Paz and Joselu onto the field after the game had been virtually won.
“The match isn’t over until the referee blows the final whistle. I try to do things to win the game and even with a 4-0 scoreline I never consider the game to be decided,” he replied, making his intentions clear.
He also revealed the disappointment of the players who were called off the field, specifically Vini Jr and Brahim Diaz.
“Vinicius told me he wanted to play more. And I told Brahim not to swear because I don’t like it.”
Ancelotti’s press conference concluded with a comment on Girona’s strong run in the competition and their sixth consecutive win across all competitions.
“They’re doing very well, better than us. You have to take into account that Girona don’t have European competitions and can fight for every game.”
“They’re a side that can fight for La Liga and I have no doubts about that,” he added on Michel’s side.
Source: Real Madrid website
Official: Real Madrid starting lineup against Napoli | UCL GW 5
Real Madrid are back in the Champions League following their impressive win against Cadiz on the weekend as they host Napoli at the Santiago Bernabeu for gameweek five.
They have already secured qualification to the round of 16, and even a point today would secure first place in the group.
With several players still injured, Carlo Ancelotti has opted for his best available starting lineup, with Daniel Carvajal taking responsibility of the captain’s armband at right-back. He will be aided by Ferland Mendy, who starts on the other side.
Meanwhile, in between them, David Alaba returns to the fold as the starting centre-back, partnering Antonio Rudiger. This duo has the responsibility of screening Andriy Lunin, who continues in goal in Kepa and Thibaut Courtois’ absence.
With both Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni out, Toni Kroos gets the chance to play as the holding midfielder for two games in a row. Federico Valverde retains his spot, as well, while Dani Ceballos comes in for the injured Luka Modric in central midfield.
Rodrygo will spearhead the team’s frontline as one of the two twin forwards, while Brahim Diaz gets the nod over Joselu. Jude Bellingham is the final, and arguably the most important piece of the puzzle, playing behind the front-two.
Confirmed Madrid XI: Lunin; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Ceballos; Bellingham; Diaz, Rodrygo