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Ancelotti: “You can’t play at your best with just two and a half days of rest”

The coach also discussed Vinícius’ changing role.

Elche CF v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Aitor Alcalde Colomer/Getty Images

Real Madrid held on for a 2-1 win at Elche, with Carlo Ancelotti relieved to hear the final whistle. The coach wasn’t entirely convinced by the performance, but explained in his post-match press conference that a lack of recovery time between Wednesday night’s Osasuna match and this early Saturday kick-off was a factor. He said: “After just two and a half days off, we couldn’t play with much intensity or energy. That’s why we had to play a mid-block and look for opportunities when they appeared. You can’t play at your best with just two and a half days of rest, although this isn’t just as an issue for Real Madrid. It’s a problem every team faces. So, even with a two-goal lead and a man advantage, it wasn’t over. It’s never over until the final whistle. Fortunately, we finished the game with three points.”

It was because of fatigue that Ancelotti took off his two full-backs, Marcelo and Dani Carvajal, at the same time in the 65th minute. The coach explained: “Those changes were only made because of physical reasons because the two haven’t played much. Marcelo hadn’t started a match yet. They played well and attacked and defended well, but I wanted to put two fresher full-backs towards the end.”

The coach also explained that Luka Jović wasn’t 100 percent fit and that this is why he didn’t play at all. On the Serbian, Ancelotti said: “He has trained, but hasn’t felt fully comfortable. That’s why he didn’t play. He wasn’t fully recovered from a knee sprain and that’s why we played Mariano, who did well and who was committed. He produced a great assist in the first half and had three or four other attacking plays. He had a good game. His moment arrived today and he did well. His role is quite clear, as we have Karim Benzema as the starter and then forwards like Mariano and Jović for when he’s not there.”

Ancelotti on Vinícius’ development

Finally, the Italian spoke about Vinícius and his latest excellent performance, while he was also asked for his thoughts on the winger’s latest Brazil snub. Ancelotti replied: “He has confidence and is playing well and scoring. He is getting used to playing more centrally, which takes time to learn since it’s different to have a one-on-one in the area compared to out on the wing. I’m not a magician, even if I try to do my best and give confidence to all my players. I have nothing to say about the decision of the coach of Brazil, who is a good friend.”