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Ancelotti: “No, I don’t think this was our worst performance of the season”

The coach explained some of his decisions from the defeat in Bilbao. 

Athletic Club v Real Madrid - Copa del Rey Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Real Madrid are out of the Copa del Rey, having fallen to a 1-0 defeat against Athletic Club in Bilbao. Despite the poor performance at San Mamés, Carlo Ancelotti wasn’t as pessimistic about the display as most Real Madrid fans. In his post-match press conference, the coach insisted that this wasn’t the worst match of the season so far, stating: “Our plan didn’t change much. As in other games, we wanted to play the ball out from the back, but they pressed well and we didn’t bring it out cleanly. We had some more control later in the game and had a clear chance with Casemiro. The game seemed under control and we felt we’d have had the advantage in extra time because they had put a lot of energy into the game until then, but then they scored their late goal. It was even until the final minute. We knew it was going to be difficult, as it also was in other matches we’ve played against them this season. Athletic deserved the win, but no, I don’t think this was our worst match of the season.”

Asked why Real Madrid couldn’t correct their problems bringing the ball out from the back, Ancelotti said: “I think we tried to play out wide too much. We should have gone central a little more, even using Courtois more. We talked about this at half time, but it didn’t turn out as we wanted.”

Ancelotti on not using Jović, Hazard or Bale

Luka Jović, Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale weren’t involved at all in this game, so Ancelotti was asked why they didn’t play a single minute between them. To that, he said: “I brought Camavinga and Isco on for Kroos and Vinícius because of fatigue. I was waiting for extra time to make another change, but unfortunately they scored and we ran out of time. But, why ask about just these three players? Why not ask about Ceballos or Carvajal too? There were many players who didn’t play.”

Ancelotti on the disappointment of the cup exit

Asked for his general feeling on Real Madrid’s latest Copa del Rey exit and the fact that their drought in this competition continues, the coach said: “We’re sad because we want to win every competition. We won the Super Cup, now we’ve lost in this one. There are two other tournaments that we need to be focused on. This defeat will make us stronger. We knew it would be difficult here and that we were missing players.”