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Thursday 11. January 2024 - 10:21

Ancelotti talks Carvajal, Kepa, Griezmann, Kroos, Modric, Rudiger after Real Madrid 5-3 Atletico Madrid

Real Madrid were made to work overtime to force a win over Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night in the semifinal of the Spanish Super Cup.

Yet, a late equaliser from Daniel Carvajal sent the game into extra-time before Joselu and Brahim Diaz completed the comeback with goals in extra-time. The men in white are now the first team in the final of the competition and will face one of Barcelona and Osasuna for the title.

Speaking to the media after the clash, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti linked the team’s haphazard performance to the hectic schedule and gave his two cents on what unfolded in the semifinal.

"We have four days to recover from a terrible effort considering that the two teams had 6 hours of travel on Monday. The match has been back and forth, very competitive and fought, a show for soccer. We have won because we have had more energy in the end."

Elaborating on Real Madrid’s inherent ability to pull off comebacks, the manager called it the team’s inherent DNA, saying,

"The team never gives up. It is the DNA of Real Madrid and a good learning for young people. We could lose today, but never give up. The team is very happy and we have to be calm because it has been a game with a lot of emotions. There are 90 minutes left to win the title and that’s the goal."

The Italian gaffer rightfully praised Atletico Madrid for the valiant fight they put up on the night and specially mentioned the team’s French star as a standout.

"We are two very strong teams in my opinion. Atlético has played soccer very well and they came out very well with the ball in the first half."

"Griezmann is at a very high level and when Atlético had the ball it was hard to recover it. They are very well organized and they are always complicated matches," he added.

The mark of a champion team lies in the impact of players on the bench and the backroom staff who gel the unit together. Speaking about both units, the coach said,

"I have a lot of confidence in the squad because those who have entered from the bench also give confidence. The staff is very motivated and plugged in. This is the only way to win these types of games."

Dani Carvajal was rightly named man-of-the-match last night for he was unplayable through the 90 minutes. On the veteran who recorded a goal and three assists, the manager said,

"He has played a very good game. He is a fantastic player, with a tremendous personality and a spectacular character. He has been the protagonist in the goals and three goals have been signed by three defences."

"The second has been spectacular with him and Mendy. His presence is very important in the attack phase and gives us more options above," he added to the Spaniard.

The clash against Atletico Madrid was queer in many ways, but the element that stood out was the fact that three goals on the night came from the defenders.

"It’s quite rare that the defences score, but we have to consider it as one more thing. Mobility is important and can surprise the rival not having a fixed position. This can happen on some occasions," Ancelotti said about the feat.

Despite getting the job done, the Italian manager was critical of the areas that Real Madrid had to improve. He stressed that conceding three goals was not the way to go and admitted that the damage could have been less.

"We have to take into account that the ball could be improved to a standing ball in the first goal. The second has been a great goal by Griezmann, who has made a spectacular play. The goal was to win and we have achieved it."

Commenting on Antonio Rudiger who scored his second goal in two appearances, he said,

"It’s a weapon we have and at this moment we are taking advantage of it."

After much debate and speculation, it was Kepa Arrizabalaga who was given the start on the night by Carlo Ancelotti ahead of Andriy Lunin, but the manager insisted that the situation could change for the final.

"He has played a good game in my opinion. In the first two goals he could not do anything and in the third he may have been bothered by Morata’s jump. We’ll see who the goalkeeper of the final is."

Towards the end of his press conference, the coach was asked about the repeated boo-ing Toni Kroos faced on the night, likely in light of his comment against Saudi Arabian football a few months ago.

"I don’t understand. I don’t think the player either. I chose Modric as the starter because Kroos had discomfort and has only trained the last two days. I preferred to bring a fresher player in this regard. They are very complicated choices," he replied on the subject.

Finally, the Real Madrid manager admitted that he was in the same boat as Manuel Pellegrini on the fact that there were no extensions in the Spanish Super Cup.

"I share it. I think he’s right."

Provided by: Frank Henriksen
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