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Ancelotti: “I didn’t start Jović because he’s still not optimal after having COVID-19”

The coach was glad to get through this fixture and take the three points.

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

Real Madrid had a tricky test against Granada on Sunday night, but they came through it and Carlo Ancelotti was glad just to take the three points. In his post-match press conference, he said: “We earned these three points with a very good second half. The players did what they had to do, those who started and those who came on. We’re not going through our best run of form right now, but now we have a week to recover the players we were missing and to prepare well for the upcoming games. We’ve had six absences for this game and I think we’ll have all six of them back for the next game.”

Despite Karim Benzema being one of these absences, Luka Jović still didn’t get the start. Yet, Ancelotti revealed that this is because the striker is still feeling some of the effects of having had COVID-19 at the start of January. The coach said: “Jović still isn’t optimal after having had COVID-19. To put Jović from the start… well, I thought I’d put Isco. He can play better between lines, even if he doesn’t have the final product that Jović has. But, I knew I could always put Jović on later on, which is what happened. Jović did very well when he came on, bringing energy to the attack.”

Ancelotti on answering his critics

After being heavily criticised in the past few days, Ancelotti was asked if he feels he deserves the credit for this win, having made decisive substitutions. But, he dismissed that and said: “Defeats are the coach’s fault and the victories are down to the players and fans. That’s normal and seems fair to me. The fans helped us a lot in the second half today and the players were committed. So, I don’t want to take the credit.”

Ancelotti on Asensio’s performance

Marco Asensio was the star man and not for the first time this season. On the Mallorcan’s performance in this game and all season, the Italian said: “He’s important, not because his name is Marco Asensio but because of what he’s doing this season. He’s working well and he’s working seriously. We won today thanks to his best quality, which is his shooting. He has done well to come back from his injury.”

Ancelotti on Mateu Lahoz

Antonio Mateu Lahoz was the referee in this one and Ancelotti spoke to the official after the final whistle. Asked what he said, the coach replied: “Nothing in particular. We spoke about the piece of play with Valverde because it wasn’t clear to me. But, I think he is the best referee in all of Spain and Europe.”