Carlo Ancelotti was very pleased by the defensive performance yesterday in his post-match comments. He praised the team for their organization and control of the match and looked ahead to more challenging fixtures over the next two weeks.
We worked more defensively, everyone was focused on defending, we pressed well and recovered possession quickly. That was the difference compared to other matches, we did not give them chances and we were well positioned on the field...Today I am happy, we have to keep going and keep improving...
The coach had many encouraging words for his players. Referring to Cristiano Ronaldo's apparent apology to the crowd for not playing well, he noted that it was easy, under those circumstances, to miss a penalty and he appreciated Ronaldo's composure in scoring it. Isco might not be "optimal form" but "he is a great player who helps the team." Illarra, who played very well, was singled out for it and for working hard over the past two weeks to get back into form. Alvaro Morata, who showed immense spirit and worked himself into the ground for the team was also praised for doing so well after coming in for Karim Benzema after the latter's minor injury.
He also provided some insight into the position of his attack after Gareth Bale's introduction. Bale played largely on the left, since Angel di Maria was still on the pitch and there was no desire to move Cristiano Ronaldo. After Jese was introduced, the players shifted position again.
Looking ahead to a challenging week of fixtures: "We have started well..."
Angel di Maria
We played a great match, that's what the coach wanted....at halftime the coach said he was happy with the job that we were doing and that he knew we could win the game...
The coach had asked us to defend with eleven players and it is clear that we did. The higher we press means that we will have more chances to rob the ball. We're doing it better every match...You have to make good use of every minute you get here, press hard and give your best...
Ronaldo should never have to apologize...he had good chances to score in this match but he'll be scoring in no time.
Cristiano Ronaldo's gesture to the crowd apologizing for what he perceived to be a poor performance received some coverage this morning. Unsurprisingly, the gesture is put down to Ronaldo's known perfectionism - because no one aside from the player has any complaints with this player's performance. While it was appreciated, Carvajal's comment is the prevailing view; in general this player has nothing to apologize for and his penalty was well-taken.
Press reviews this morning were particularly interested in Madrid's control of the match. Willy Caballero had a very busy night, and all the action was at one end of the pitch while Malaga were surprisingly poor. All press reviews are agreed: without Caballero, the score could easily have been 6-0. Alfredo Relano making that point in his editorial this morning in As in a very representative example.
Noting that Madrid's nearest title rivals had both dropped points yesterday, Relano noted a humorous old adage by former Real Madrid coach Vujadin Boskov. "We're 8 points better off ." This was in reference, of course, not only to points gained, but those lost!