Free Press Journal

Ancelotti defends Ronaldo absence in Real Madrid’s defeat


Madrid: Spanish football club Real Madrid’s coach Carlo Ancelotti was forced to defend his decision to leave talismanic striker Cristiano Ronaldo out of the starting line-up in his side’s 0-2 Kings Cup defeat to Atletico Madrid.

Ancelotti defended himself in the same way as FC Barcelona coach, Luis Enrique recently shield himself after dropping striking spearhead Lionel Messi from the first 11 in a La Liga match, reports Xinhua.

Ronaldo was forced to watch from the dugout as Real fell a goal behind to their local rivals and entered the game as a 60th minute substitute.

His presence was not enough to change things and a second goal from Jose Gimenez with just after 15 minutes remaining gave Real Madrid a mountain to climb in next week’s return leg and left Ancelotti with some questions to answer.

“Cristiano Ronaldo was tired and he played in the second half,” said Ancelotti, who insisted that until Atletico had taken the lead from the penalty spot that the game “was under control”.

That doesn’t mean he was pleased with the performance which led to his side’s second defeat in four days.

“We lacked depth in general and played too horizontally. Atletico defended very well and it was hard to find a solution. Maybe we need to be more vertical,” he said.

He avoided criticism of winger Gareth Bale, who has not started the year in his best form.

“It wasn’t a problem with Bale, but that the whole team had problems. We didn’t create many chances. He scored a goal which was ruled out for offside, but it was hard for us to create chances,” commented Ancelotti.

He insisted that although his side was forced to fight back from 0-2 down, the tie was far from over.

“We may not have many options but the ones we have we will use to the maximum,” he promised.