Very little went right for Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid at Levante Saturday night. Not until the dying moments of the match at least. Right from the onset, the manager's selections for this trip to Valencia raised some eyebrows (and no, not in that awesome way the manager raises his own eyebrow). The offensively conservative inclusion of Arbeloa, Coentrão and Sami Khedira all at once proved itself as dull in practice as it appeared on paper.
Fortunately for Real Madrid, Ancelotti's substitutions along with a resilient attitude in the players were enough to squeeze out a 3-2 victory at the death. Ancelotti made sure to credit these things for saving himself from a world of trouble had the result not been three points.
We haven't surrendered, we had the will to fight. It's true that we haven't played fantastic football, but we deserved to win.
Tonight marks the second successive trip to Ciutat de València that required some resilience to escape with three points. In this fixture a year ago, playing on an underwater pitch was the challenge overcome by Los Blancos. Tonight the challenge was turning the tables on a frustratingly difficult 85+ minutes of football. At the heart of both of these triumphs was Álvaro Morata, who provided the equalizing goal in the 90th minute before Cristiano Ronaldo stole the match from Levante's clutches four minutes later.
In reference to the youngsters Morata and Jesé:
I don't need Morata and Jesé to prove anything to me because I already have a lot of confidence in them. They brought much enthusiasm when they came onto the pitch.
No doubt that the two youngsters changed the game (along with Marcelo). They stepped up when they were needed to, and that's surely a positive for them. You would imagine that the push for Morata to start more matches will only get stronger at this point. Real Madrid should not need to count on these guys to have to come in late to rescue the match.
I must be critical of the performance. From a tactical and technical perspective, it was not good. But the reaction from the players was. [...] When you have players with this attitude, it's not too difficult to improve our game. But it must be improved.
All true. We can be thankful for escaping with three points. In tight races for the league, these are the kinds of pivotal moments that can make or break you.