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Ancelotti: “I took Vinícius off to protect him, the match was getting fiery”

The coach discussed the comfortable victory in Granada.

Granada v Real Madrid - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Real Madrid earned a big 4-1 win over Granada on Sunday afternoon and Carlo Ancelotti was happy with his side’s performance for the most part, saying afterwards: “I liked the quality we showed, as we played out well from the back and looked for balls between the lines. The only thing I didn’t like that our intensity went down after scoring the second goal.”

The final 20 minutes were especially comfortable, with Los Blancos in control on the scoreboard and also boasting a man advantage after Monchu was shown a straight red for a challenge on Vinícius. Asked for his opinion about the sending off, Ancelotti replied: “I’ve not seen it, but I also don’t think it changed the outcome of the game.”

The coach did admit, though, that his 71st minute substitution of Vinícius was in part made because of Granada’s tough challenges on the Brazilian. Asked if he was worried about the youngster getting injured or provoked into a reaction, the coach replied: “Yes, I took Vinícius off to avoid problems. The match was getting a little fiery. I wanted to avoid those kinds of problems, for us and for Granada.”

As for the other changes he made late on, Ancelotti said: “I made substitutions to give some rest to those who had been playing more. Physically, the team is good. I felt Militão was tired so I gave him a rest today, for example, and Nacho played well. Maybe other players will be tired and need a rest in the coming days, which is fine since I trust the others.”

Ancelotti on Asensio’s chances of starting

This was another good game for Marco Asensio, who scored the opening goal and who came close to another. Ancelotti was asked if the Spaniard is playing himself into a starting role, to which he said: “He’s doing what we’re asking of him and playing lots of minutes. There’s a lot of competition and the important thing is for him to play well when he’s given a chance, which he is doing by showing his quality.”

Ancelotti on Real Madrid’s midfield trio

On the latest master class from Luka Modrić, Toni Kroos and Casemiro, Ancelotti said: “They’re still the best midfielders in the world, for me. It’s surprising how they can naturally do things, things I don’t even have to ask. For example, sometimes Modrić drops back or Kroos drops back to overcome pressure, or Casemiro goes forward. I don’t want to get in the way of that. They were great in the past and they are great in the present. As for the future, in the near future they can still keep going. But, for the next 10 years we’ll have to find someone else, although we already have options since Fede Valverde and Camavinga are ready, and Antonio Blanco too.”

Ancelotti on Vallejo’s cameo

Jesús Vallejo was given his first LaLiga Santander minutes of the season in this game, coming on as a substitute against the club he spent one and a half seasons on loan at. Ancelotti dismissed the idea that it was purely a sentimental decision, saying: “Vallejo deserves to play because he has the highest professionalism that you could hope for in a professional footballer. Whenever I can, I’d like to put him in the game.”