Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the press after the 5-1 win over Valencia to reflect upon his team’s thumping victory, and in doing so he spoke to praise both Rodrygo Goes and Vinícius Júnior as he said: “This was their best level, they just needed time to get back to showing their best qualities. In the last two games they’ve done it very well, finding spaces and playing with extraordinary quality. We can say that they have returned.”
Ancelotti on whether this was the team’s best performance of the season
Asked whether this was the best game played by Real Madrid this season, Ancelotti provided a clear response: “Was it the best performance? Yes. Valencia haven’t shown their best because we played a very good game, the first 15 minutes we could have defended better, but from there the game was perfect.
Ancelotti on the best individuals
When pushed for a best performance, Ancelotti was reluctant to single out any individuals and pointed to the team performance as he said: “Vinícius and Rodrygo both did very well, as part of the wider team who all played very well. I don’t like to assess on an individual level, but as a team they did a splendid job.”
Ancelotti on what he told the players he took off
When asked what he told the players he brought off, Ancelotti shared some insight but also responded in his typical humorous style as he said: “Vinícius said that he wanted to play more, and I told Brahim not to do backheels because I don’t like them.”
Ancelotti on Dani Carvajal
With a goal, Dani Carvajal was another of the stand-out performers and Ancelotti analysed his display by saying: “He’s a very, very good full-back both in and out of possession. Our play out wide was very good, with Rodrygo on the right with Carvajal, and Vinícius and Brahim on the left. That was what helped us to win this game.”
Ancelotti on Andriy Lunin
Ancelotti was also asked about Andriy Lunin, the stand-in goalkeeper, and his recent quotes that he had perhaps been unfair with him in the past. He said: “I don’t know if I was unfair with him, when you have a squad of this level, you have to be unfair with someone. Like Luka Modrić today, he could have started and he added value when he came on, but unfortunately that’s my job.
Ancelotti on Eduardo Camavinga
Another star man was Eduardo Camavinga, and Ancelotti was asked if his current form is his best while playing in the holding midfield role. Ancelotti responded: “I think he does it very well in every position which makes it hard to know where to put him. In the pivot role, I think he’s showed his best level in these past few games without Tchouameni.”
Ancelotti on his substitutions
Questioned as to why the substitutes were not given more game time with the result seemingly settled early on, Ancelotti responded bluntly: “The game is only over when the referee blows the final whistle. I don’t ever see a game over at 4-0, so I make changes to try and win the game.”
Ancelotti on the team’s form
Looking at the wider context of recent games, Ancelotti praised his team for their excellent form over the past three games at home in the last week: “I think everyone has played very well in the last three games, we were missing something against Rayo Vallecano, but we’ve played very good football, consolidated, with commitment, and dedication.”
Ancelotti on Jude Bellingham and the international break
Providing an update on midfielder Jude Bellingham, Ancelotti said that he will travel to England before returning in the international break: “Bellingham will go, yes, to be evaluated and he’ll come back after that, because he hasn’t played today. He is doing specific work to strengthen his shoulder over the next few weeks, but he will be back to playing after that.
Ancelotti on Girona
Finally, asked about title rivals Girona, Ancelotti was asked if they could be a new Leicester City, and he responded: “Girona are doing very well, better than us. They don’t have European competitions either, so can fight for every game. They are a rival who can fight for LaLiga, without a doubt.”