Real Madrid Coach Ancelotti Criticizes Approach, Atletico Madrid Loss

Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti criticized his team’s approach during a Copa del Rey last 16 loss to crosstown rivals Atletico Madrid on Thursday, which included ‘unnecessary’ play involving Vinicius Jr., and confirmed which player he’ll drop at the weekend.

Los Blancos’ hopes of a domestic treble were ended after they succumbed 4-2 to Diego Simeone’s men at the Metropolitano.

While Madrid managed to beat Atleti 5-3 in extra time a week ago, to grant qualification to the Spanish Super Cup final won against another eternal enemy in FC Barcelona, it was the Rojiblanco that came out on top this time after another thrilling 120 minutes’ play.

Ancelotti refused to accept that “accumulated fatigue” was to blame for the loss, however, when questioned on the matter in a post-match interview.

“I don’t know, I don’t know,” Ancelotti responded. “It’s not the issue.”

“We played a complete, even, hard-fought game against a strong opponent. We left with a good feeling, but we’re not happy. We tried in every way. It was a good game from us and also from Atleti,” he added.

Despite his side only managing to put a pair of goals past Atleti on this occasion compared to five last time out, Ancelotti knocked back the suggestion that a lack of goals was the deciding factor.

“Well, two went in and then we hit the post twice. We even scored a goal that was disallowed. Up top, nothing more could be done.”

On what was missing, Ancelotti criticized his troops for not controlling the game “a little more when everything was even”.

“We equalized twice and we shouldn’t have taken risks. [We should have had] more control,” he stressed.

“Sometimes when you have the game under control, you don’t need to force the play,” Ancelotti said in a pre-match press conference later when expanding on the theme.

“We have young people with extraordinary quality, who try. [But] there are times in games when forcing the play isn’t necessary.”

“We lost because we took risks in an unnecessary play,” Ancelotti specified in a nod to Vinicius, who was at fault for Antoine Griezmann’s extra time strike. “The loss has punished us.”

Before that, in the mixed zone, Ancelotti confirmed that he will drop goalkeeper Andriy Lunin in favor of Kepa for Sunday’s La Liga meeting with Almeria.

In his press conference, though, Ancelotti didn’t want to do any “individual analysis” when asked to talk about Lunin not delivering his best performance, which included being at fault for the goal that Alvaro Mataro scored to put Atleti 2-1 up.

“We could have done better when the game was tied, we didn’t need to force the plays so much and we did it. We are young, this was the key,” the manager concluded.

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