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Ancelotti: “It's a painful defeat, but we need to stay calm and focused”

NEWS STORY. 20/03/2022

“At the start of the season, we’d have taken having a nine-point lead on 20 March and being in the Champions League quarter-finals,” insisted the coach.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media in the press room at the Santiago Bernabéu following the Clásico. The coach explained: "Playing Modrić as a number 10 was intended to help play out from the back and find space behind the line with Rodrygo, Valverde and Vini Jr. The set up didn't work. I didn't set up the team good enough to get to win. Barça were better than us and deserved to win. It's not difficult for me to accept that I didn't set the team up well. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don't. I got it wrong in this game, but I'm not going to make a big thing out of it. It's a defeat that hits us hard, we know how important a match against Barcelona is, especially for the fans".
"We're really sorry for the performance, but we have to keep going, focussed on the next two weeks and work hard. We have to stay calm and keep our heads because this loss is very painful, but we have to remember that we're nine points clear of second place. We have to stay well-balanced. The break coming up is good for us. We can get Karim and Mendy back involved. We've got time to absorb this defeat, which is a very painful one, as I said, but we have to stay focussed".
The fans
"The fans were very good, with us, even in the defeat. They're aware that we didn't have a good night and nobody knows what’ll happen over the coming months, but these two weeks will give us the chance to rest and prepare to win the next game. We've got an advantage, but we have to concentrate on winning every game. I don't think this defeat will impact the team. The set up wasn't right. I can get it wrong once, it's quite rare it happens twice".

“We can’t go thinking that we’ve lost because Karim wasn’t playing. Where it went wrong is that we tried to press them a bit higher up the pitch and they played out from the back very well and after they got the first goal, we struggled even more to regain possession. We made a strong start, but we then really struggled to win the ball back, we took some risks at the back and we’ve struggled overall .

Aubameyang’s tackle on Kroos
“I don’t know, I don’t understand it, but I don’t want to go into it because it would mean making excuses and I don’t want to do that. We didn’t play well, the way I set us up was really poor, but I’ve now got the time to regain energy and prepare us to lift some trophies in the next two months of the season. We have to assess the position we’re in and I think that, at the start of the season, we’d have taken having a nine-point lead on 20 March and being in the Champions League quarter-finals. The defeat hurts, I’m really sorry and very sad, but I have to be balanced and I can be thanks to our nine-point advantage and being in the quarter-finals”. 

Lack of application
“I don’t think it was that because the players were really up for it, just as they always are in these games. The game and the way we set up just didn’t work out for us”.

“He didn’t feel well yesterday after training. He tried this morning but he wasn’t up to playing. He’s now going to join up with his national team and they’ll decide whether he plays or not”.