Carlo Ancelotti needs to find some answers quickly. His team is not playing properly and Simeone's Atlético Madrid schooled los blancos in Saturday's derby. The Italian coach said the following in the press conference after the match against Atleti:
I'm not going to change the style of play. I'm sure these players are ready to play this way. It's not a problem about the system, it's a problem about the tempo of our offensive game. We need to improve the attitude and gain some confidence back.
If I were a coach, I would rather have a tactical problem than an attitude one. You can always fix the system to fit your players into that new idea, but it is hard to improve the players' mentality and attitude when they are this lazy and careless just seven games into a new season -and a new project-.
The players appeared to be exhausted and tired of Mourinho's antics last season. They showed that when Real Madrid faced Chelsea in the Guiness International Champions Cup last August. Therefore, they should be excited about a new manager. Ancelotti has been praised by the roster, but truth is nobody is fighting for his cause. Yes, Diego López, Isco and some other players are performing well enough, but the team's attitude on the pitch is just unacceptable. Real Madrid's opposition always have the chance of enjoying good counterattacks, and that's just because there's no tracking back at all. And that shows a lot about this team.
It would also be fair to point out that Ancelotti's 4-4-2 might not be an appropriate system for a team that should dominate games. The 4-4-2 formation is quite obsolete and it requires at least one pure center striker able to keep the defensive line busy. Neither Benzema nor Cristiano Ronaldo area that kind of striker. Not even Morata, and that's why this system is failing. Another reason behind Real's struggle is the ambiguity of the 4-4-2 formation. It is not an offensive system, but it is not a defensive one neither. Under a 4-4-2 you can pretty much adapt to every situation but you do not have your own style of play. You don't know whether you're supposed to rush plays or have the patience to break the defense down. It's a vague system that lacks personality for a team that is supposed to dominate most of the matches.
So what's next for Ancelotti's Real Madrid? The team should win their next three matches comfortably. First, Copenhaguen will visit the Bernabéu, and then los blancos will travel to Valencia to play against Levante. After that, most of the roster will be on duty with their national teams before Bernd Schuster's Málaga visit the Bernabéu. Those three games should be used to gain confidence back and try to play much more comfortably. Levante will surely be a good test for Real's positional offense.
And after those three matches, Real Madrid will have to play against Juventus and Barcelona in the same week. Ancelotti and his men better get things straight before that.