The coach was delighted with the character shown by his squad.
Real Madrid did it the hard way, but they have progressed to the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey. After Los Blancos came from behind to win 2-1 at Elche in extra time, Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media and revealed how proud he was of his players.
Starting his press conference, he said: "This is the match that has made me happiest from this part of the season. I warned the players that it could be a long match and that we had to be ready for everything, for mistakes, for conceding a goal, for extra time. This is an extraordinary squad. They fight until the end. They have character.”"
Substitutes Isco and Eden Hazard scored the goals and Ancelotti was asked for a word on them and on how they’ve managed to stay ready for when a moment like this might come along. He said: " Hazard and Isco won this match for us. Sometimes they’ve deserved to play more. They’re very professional. [Keeping them motivated] is about maintaining good relationships, as people not just as footballers."
This was a game packed with refereeing controversies and Ancelotti was asked for his thoughts on the officiating, specifically the Marcelo red card and disallowed Fidel goal. He replied: " Marcelo told me he didn’t touch the opponent. It was a difficult decision, just like the one at the end when disallowing the goal. I thought that was a clear foul."
Marcelo was better in attack than in defence in this game, but Ancelotti was vague when asked if he’d consider deploying the Br azilian in a more advanced position. He said: "I think Marcelo was better offensively and had some dangerous moments in attack. But, I think he also did well in defence apart from one long ball early on. I can count on him."
The Italian was also asked about the fact that he is about to lose some players in order to play World Cup qualifiers. On the FIFA calendar, he said: "There’s a calendar that makes no sense. Those who make it need to wake up and create a fairer schedule for all. That’s it. What more can I say?"