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Ancelotti: “Álvaro Rodríguez will be in the first-team squad next season”

The coach broke down the derby draw and praised the young striker. 

Real Madrid CF v Atletico de Madrid - LaLiga Santander Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Following Real Madrid’s 1-1 draw with Atlético Madrid on Saturday evening, Carlo Ancelotti appeared in the Real Madrid press room to break down the game. Asked if he was frustrated that his team couldn’t make the most of the numerical advantage following Ángel Correa’s red card, and how they managed to conceded to the 10 men of Atleti, the coach said: “Griezmann is a great set piece taker and Giménez is a great header of the ball. That can happen. It was a shame that it happened at a point when we were pushing. We had time to equalise the game, but not to win it. We’re not saying goodbye to LaLiga. It’s more difficult than it was before this game, but we’ll keep working. The Copa del Rey is the most important title for us right now, but only because it is the next match.”

Ancelotti on his midfield selection

If there was one part of his starting XI that raised eyebrows then it was the midfield, with neither Aurélien Tchouaméni nor Eduardo Camavinga starting as the pivot. Instead it was Toni Kroos there and Ancelotti explained why, stating: “We thought we’d have control with Kroos as the pivot, as we didn’t think Atlético would press him much. That was the case and I think he played really well. We also wanted to play with fresher midfielders, resting others.”

Ancelotti on Álvaro Rodríguez’s goal

After his impressive performance as an assister off the bench against Osasuna last week, this time Álvaro Rodríguez came on and scored the equaliser. Discussing the 18-year-old and the club’s plans for him, the Italian said: “It’s a very special night for him. He has shown all his quality in the little game time he has had. We think he can be useful for us in this stretch of the season, playing for Castilla and playing for us. Our plan for next season is for Álvaro to be in the first-team squad. He has quality like few others and he’s tall and strong. Benzema isn’t a traditional centre-forward, so having one with this quality of his height is good for us.”

Ancelotti on the Correa red card

Asked if he thought the red card shown to Ángel Correa was fair, he simply replied: “Yes, it was fair.”

Ancelotti on having a few days before the next game

Real Madrid now have a rare five-day stretch with no matches, as they’re not in action until Thursday, when they face Barcelona in the Copa del Rey. Given that he has lamented the lack of time for tactical work over these past few weeks, the coach said he is happy to have this period, stating: “It’s normal that we’re a bit fatigued, as we’ve had 17 games in 50 days. Tomorrow we’ll rest and then we’ll start working on Monday. We’ll have the chance to have a good tactical session on Tuesday. That’s most welcome.”

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