Real Madrid defeated Rayo Vallecano 2-1 on Saturday night, having to hold on at the end of a match that they had started very well. Carlo Ancelotti was pleased with the start of the game, but admitted that Los Blancos were made to suffer after Radamel Falcao pulled one goal back. He said: “Rayo play well and press well, but we played through that press well. We used the counter attack well too. If the match had finished earlier, it could have been our best performance of the season. We played very well for most of the game. We had many chances and we could have scored another to kill off the game. The third goal didn’t come and then, when they scored, we had 10 minutes of fear. That’s the only word I can think of. We suffered at the end, but we did have many chances that we missed. It’s unusual for Karim to have missed the chances he missed, even though he did also score.”
One of the standout players was Marco Asensio and the coach spoke about the Spaniard and his position, saying: “I think Asensio can play as a wide forward because of his quality. He combined well there with Dani Carvajal. He can also play as a midfielder and scored a hat-trick there against Real Mallorca. The important thing for him is to feel important in this team, which he is. Every time he has played, he has done well. Today, he had a great assist for Kroos and he also contributed well in defence. I’m very happy with his performance.”
Ancelotti on Barcelona’s struggles
With this win, Real Madrid are now 10 points ahead of Barcelona in the table. Asked if he still considers them as title rivals, Ancelotti said: “It’s a surprise to see them behind, but I think Barcelona can get back towards the top because the season is long. But, I don’t like to speak about Barcelona and their situation. I have a lot of respect for that club and for Xavi. I think they have enough quality to come out of this difficult moment.”
Ancelotti on Benzema’s substitution
Finally, Ancelotti explained that Karim Benzema was taken off in the 83rd minute because he was a little fatigued, ahead of going away with France for the international break. “I took Karim off because he was tired,” he confirmed.