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Ancelotti: “Maybe I made a mistake, maybe we should have played long balls”

The coach spoke about the first league defeat of the season.

Rayo Vallecano v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga Santander Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Real Madrid have lost a LaLiga game for the first time this season and Carlo Ancelotti reflected on the 3-2 defeat to Rayo Vallecano in the Vallecas press room. Asked for his general analysis, he said: “I think it’s quite easy to analyse. We lacked the punch that the opponents had. Our level in that sense was lower and, when that happens, you can’t just rely on your talent. It wasn’t just a physical issue. Maybe the tactics weren’t the best. For example, we struggled to bring the ball out and sometimes we need to play long balls in certain situations. So, maybe I, as the coach, made a mistake with that. We also lost a lot of duels. That was the case with all the players, even those who normally win their duels.”

Ancelotti on Real Madrid’s fatigue

Pressed on whether Real Madrid’s fatigue may have caused this defeat, Ancelotti played that down. He said: “I think the players were focused and tried their best. We’re sort of running on fumes, but that is normal because we’ve played too so matches. That’s the same for most teams, though, as others are also playing every three days. We’re not as fresh as we were before and you notice that more than ever in these types of matches against these types of intense teams.”

Ancelotti on losing the lead

Barcelona now sit as the leaders of LaLiga Santander and can guarantee that they’ll be ahead during the entire World Cup if they beat Osasuna on Tuesday. On that, Ancelotti said: “We’re disappointed to have lost the lead at the top of the table, but this season is very long. We’ve done well in this first stage of the season, even if we didn’t have a good game today.”

Ancelotti on Vinícius’ composure

Vinícius spent most of this game engaged in off-the-ball battles with opponents and the referee. Asked if this is a problem, Ancelotti said: “Vinícius had a tough game, though not because of the issues with the referee. In this kind of game, when we can’t bring it out from the back, the forwards suffer more than the others. He is usually under close watch. Today, he didn’t play at the level that he usually has done over the course of the season.”

Ancelotti on the Champions League draw

Finally, the coach was asked about the Champions League last 16 pairing with Liverpool. Looking ahead to that tie that’ll come up early next year, he said: “Obviously it’s a very entertaining but difficult last 16 tie. It’ll be a great atmosphere, both at Anfield and the Bernabéu. It’ll be a spectacular occasion.”

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