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Ancelotti: “It’s not luck that Real Madrid have won seven matches in a row”

The coach enjoyed the way the team ground out the 1-0 win over Athletic.

Real Madrid CF v Athletic Club - La Liga Santander Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Real Madrid really had to grind out their 1-0 victory over Athletic Club on Wednesday night and Carlo Ancelotti loved the way the players dug deep at the end. Giving a lengthy analysis of the game in the first answer of his post-match press conference, Ancelotti said: “We played against a good and intense team that hadn’t lost away from home yet. Plus, they’d had two days more rest. If you don’t take your chances in the first half, when we were good, then you can end up suffering like we did. That’s a good quality too, knowing how to suffer when you have to. Some teams give up, but Real Madrid aren’t like that. It’s not luck that we’ve won seven matches in a row. When we can’t use all of our quality, we have this other quality that we can use. I liked the end of the game more than the first half. It may have seemed like the first half was an exhibition, but we lacked punch. At the end, we lacked quality, but not commitment.”

He was then asked if fatigue is a reason for the poorer second half performed and responded: “The team was tired towards the end, yes. It’s normal when you player a fresher team who rested more than you. That’s something we need to look at for the next game, to see if some of the players who were fatigued can play.”

Ancelotti on Courtois’ form

The final question was about Thibaut Courtois, who made two more brilliant saves in this game. On his goalkeeper, the Italian said: “Courtois is doing extraordinary things. We need to improve defensively, especially at set pieces, but we have this great player and we’re enjoying him. I have had many great goalkeepers in my teams over the years, like Casillas and Diego López here, then Petr Cech, Neuer and Buffon over my career. Thibaut is among the best of them, for sure.”