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Ancelotti: "It’s hard to understand how a team that plays so well in the second half can play so bad in the first half"

The coach's press conference quotes after the derby.

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid - Spanish Copa del Rey Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Real Madrid once again came from behind to reach the next round in this 2022/23 Copa del Rey. While Carlo Ancelotti was happy with the comeback that saw Los Blancos win the derby 3-1 after extra time, he did point out that they should be able to start matches better.

Offering his analysis in the press conference, he said: “Atlético played well, a little different from normal, with Griezmann and Correa in between the lines. They were certainly better in the first half, but we reacted well. At half time in the Villarreal game, I was angry, but not today. I believed in the comeback. We moved Modric’s position forward a little, but more than a tactical change it was a mental change. We had more energy in the second half. Still, it’s hard to understand how a team that plays so well in the second half can play so bad in the first half.”

Ancelotti on Vinícius’ response to the Atleti ultras’ message

Vinícius was the focus of this derby, following the horrible message displayed by Atleti ultras on a Madrid motorway bridge on Wednesday night. Asked how the young forward handled all this, Ancelotti said: “What happened was shameful. He dealt with it well and focused on the match. He was excited to play in front of his own fans again. I think he worked well and his goal was a just reward for his hard work.”

Ancelotti on his midfield selections

Although the midfield of Fede Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga and Dani Ceballos worked well on Sunday, Ancelotti changed it up by starting Luka Modric and Toni Kroos here. Explaining that, he said: “It’s hard to put Kroos and Modric on the bench, but it’s hard to bench Ceballos, Asensio and Rodrygo too. With so many top-quality players, that’s obviously hard for me."

Ancelotti on Rodrygo’s goal and substitution

Rodrygo came off the bench, scored a goal, and was then taken back off. Asked about the Brazilian’s performance, and why he was taken back off, Ancelotti said: “It was a fantastic goal, showing his quality. He made a difficult goal look easy. The way he came on was important for us. He had a slight problem with his Achilles tendon.”

Ancelotti on Savic’s red card

Atlético were angry that Stefan Savic was shown a second yellow card after Dani Ceballos had a potential second yellow waved away. On this, the Italian simply responded: “I was far away, so I don’t know.”

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