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Ancelotti: “This Clásico had a Champions League atmosphere on a Sunday afternoon”

This is what the coach thought of the 3-1 Clásico victory.

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

Real Madrid have won the first Clásico of the 2022/23 season, defeating Barcelona 3-1. Carlo Ancelotti was delighted with the win and analysed the flow of the game as so: “The key was the first half when we were clinical. We managed to bring the ball out from the back well against their press. We were good defensively, not leaving them much space, and then we were clinical up front. That first half was the key. The intensity of the first half couldn’t be kept up the whole game, but the game was under control. In the second half, Barcelona pushed a bit more and we didn’t bring the ball out as well, but we still didn’t suffer too much at the back.”

Ancelotti on revenge for the 4-0

The coach was asked if Real Madrid took it easy in the second half and if they could have done more to punish Barcelona’s weaknesses, perhaps earning a bigger margin of victory and some revenge for the 4-0. To that, he said: “No, we didn’t take our foot off the gas. We just think about winning matches, not thrashing teams. We’ve taken three points for us and also three points off our main title rival this season. It’s a long season with a lot of matches. We’re obviously happy with the performance.”

Ancelotti on Real Madrid’s evolution

He was asked about how his Real Madrid team have evolved from this time last year and acknowledged that they have changed slightly, saying: “We started out as a low block and counter-attacking team, but we’ve added more things over time.”

Ancelotti on Militão vs Lewandowski

It was Éder Militão who did an especially good job on Robert Lewandowski and Ancelotti revealed the coaching staff wanted the Brazilian to be closer to him than Alaba. He said: “It looked like man-marking at times, but we hadn’t actually discussed that. We did ask Militão to push and be more aggressive with Lewandowski than Alaba and for Alaba to keep the overall positional control more. He was spectacular in this sense.”

Ancelotti on Tchouaméni’s adaptation

Aurélien Tchouaméni did brilliantly in his first Clásico and Ancelotti was asked about the Frenchman’s adaptation. He said: “Firstly, Tchouaméni is young, but he has a lot of personality and character. Secondly, he was able to step into a complete midfield with Kroos and Modrić.”

Ancelotti on Valverde’s continued rise

After Toni Kroos tweeted “Fede Valverde top 3 in the world right now” after the game, this was put to Ancelotti in the press conference. The coach replied: “He’s getting more and more used to that position and is doing well. He is getting closer and closer to the opposition goal and is scoring goals. His energy is incredible.”

Ancelotti on Kroos’ potential retirement

Asked about Kroos himself and whether he is trying to convince the German to stay on for another season, the coach replied: “He knows exactly what I think, what the teammates think and what the club thinks. But, we don’t need to push him. He’s smart and loves Real Madrid and we’ll be happy with whatever decision he takes.”

Ancelotti on Benzema’s Ballon d’Or

Karim Benzema was back amongst the goals the day before he is due to collect his Ballon d’Or award. On the Frenchman, Ancelotti said: “Like I said yesterday, I think he has been doing better in training. He had a good match, not just with the goal. I hope he wins the Ballon d’Or tomorrow. If he does, it’ll be in part ours.”

Ancelotti on the Bernabéu atmosphere

Discussing the fans and the atmosphere at the ground this Sunday, Ancelotti was asked if the atmosphere is better now than it was during his previous stint in charge. He replied: “I don’t think there’s anything different. The fans have always been with us. It’s true that the wild moments of last season did bring us closer to the fans. Today felt like a Champions League atmosphere in the middle of the afternoon.”

Ancelotti on the refereeing

Even though there was some talk of refereeing controversy after this win, Ancelotti doesn’t agree. On José María Sánchez Martínez’s performance, he stated: “I think he did his job fine.”

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