Real Madrid Manager Carlo Ancelotti has been clear that he has no problem sitting deep and defending in some matches this season, despite the usual expectations for Los Blancos to take the initiative.
During their victory over Real Sociedad on Sunday night, Ancelotti removed Joselu Mato and Rodrygo Goes, their only natural forwards, to play Luka Modric and Brahim Diaz, the latter up front on his own, with Lucas Vazquez and Jude Bellingham their wide options.
The Italian was quizzed on this after the match.
“We dropped off because we had an advantage and I played 4-5-1 because we didn’t need to press high, but instead defend well. There will be games in which we will be content to have a low block and go on the counterattack. We will do it when we need to. After 70′, the game was about defending and going on the counterattack.”
He was also honest about the fact that Los Blancos have had a habit of going behind this season.
“‘We have to look at it, it’s true. At the start, we’ve conceded goals in three of the five games we’ve played, and gone behind in them. We have to prevent that from happening because it’s hard to get back into the game and you have to make more of an effort, as we saw today. In addition, today it was against a side who play very good football. We managed to do it thanks to the commitment, energy and desire from the team, which has been a constant in all of these games. We’re capable of turning up the intensity to the pouint where our opponents find difficult to withstand for 90 minutes.”
Ancelotti also heaped praise on veteran forward Joselu, who came up with the winner, heading home from a Fran Garcia cross.
“He’s a great asset in attack because he plays very well with his back to goal, facing goal, with his head and he’s very dangerous in the opposition’s box. He’s also a very good header of the ball and we know what he can contribute. For us he’s a guarantee. We don’t have any player with these characteristics up front and he’s very important because he’s ready for crosses and he plays very well in the opposition’s box.”
“It’s not a coincidence that he’s scored in both home games because we’ve had more chances. I would have changed him anyway if he hadn’t scored because I wanted more control in midfield.”
Much like the beginning of last season, Real Madrid so far have found a way to take three points from every match in the early stages, in spite of their apparent lack of a natural goalscorer. Up until now, Bellingham and now Joselu have come up with the goods, but Ancelotti will be glad to have Vinicius Junior back to full fitness in the coming weeks.