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Ancelotti: "Di María didn't play because I didn't need him"

A very annoyed Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media after the loss to Atlético de Madrid to discuss several topics, like the substitutions or the controversy surrounding Khedira and Di María.

Denis Doyle

Carlo Ancelotti was understandably unhappy after the loss. He should be, after a very poor performance against Atlético de Madrid where even his substitutions were questionable (like taking Toni Kroos out instead of Xabi Alonso) at best:

We lost the control of the game in the second half. We needed more ball possession, which we did well in the first half. It was more complicated in the second half where they were defending how they like to. That's why we made those substitutions.

The Italian coach says this game represented the end of a season and dedicated a painful reminder to Atlético de Madrid:

A season ends today. I want to thank the players and the club because we accomplished big things. It was far better to lose this game than to lose in Lisbon. At the end, we've won three trophies.

Lots of Madridistas were already dreaming about winning the Sextete (winning all six trophies in one season), but tonight that dream was shattered. Carlo isn't really too worried about it:

None of us, not even the players, have ever talked about a Sextete. We've only discussed winning as many trophies as possible.

A substitution that was discussed was Cristiano Ronaldo's. The Portuguese wasn't terrible but he looked like he wasn't ready to play:

He wasn't ready to play for 90 minutes. I decided to use him in the second half when the pace was slowing down.

More on the controversial substitutions:

I changed our three midfielders and we lost possession because of it. That's why I put Isco in Kroos' spot.

Ángel Di María didn't play and he still made a lot of noise but for all the wrong reasons. He wasn't included in the final list for this game, which, obviously, gave place to a lot of speculation. Here's Carlo's reason why Di María didn't make the cut (believe it or not, that's on you):

It was a tactical decision. I didn't need Di María tonight.

James Rodríguez was arguably Real Madrid's best player tonight. He started the match and slowly started to participate in most of Real Madrid's meaningful chances. He got some well-deserved praise from the Italian coach:

His first half was fantastic as he was our most dangerous player. He tried to find a position between the lines. In the second half, he played a lot in the middle. He was tired and that's why I replaced him with Isco.

Just like Di María, Sami Khedira wasn't included by Carlo for this game since he traveled to Germany for personal reasons. According to his coach, he had the club's permission to do so:

The club gave him permission to go to Germany. I'm not interested in where he went. When they're free, players they can go anywhere they want.

With this loss, the next season is just about to start for Ancelotti:

It's going to be an interesting season. We have a great team and we'll try to do the same things we did last year. We have a very competitive team to win La Liga and the Champions League. It's going to be a positive season, like the one that just ended."

Finally, he spoke about Karim Benzema, and whether something needs to be done to improve that position:

No, we don't need to reinforce that position. I'm happy with Benzema. Even when he doesn't score, he offers solutions to the team. He's really useful to the team.

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