NEWS
Monday May 5 2014
Ancelotti: League more open

Real Madrid Coach Carlo Ancelotti believes the destination of the title is still unclear after a weekend that saw the top three all fail to win.

Leaders Atletico Madrid were beaten away at Getafe while Barcelona and Madrid were both held at home, the former against Getafe on Saturday and the latter a day later by Valencia.

Madrid needed an injury time goal from Cristiano Ronaldo to take even a point against Los Che, but Ancelotti said after the match he didn’t feel Los Blancos had missed their chance to gain ground.

Indeed, he told his post-match Press conference that the weekend’s results hadn’t changed his thoughts at all regarding the title race.

“The League will be decided in the last few games, I said. And so it will be,” AS reports the Italian as saying.

“It was a difficult round for the top three and now it’s more open than ever.

“It was an opportunity. I thought the team started well. We had opportunities in the first 15 minutes but then it was more difficult to play with intensity.

“It’s true Valencia played on Thursday but they had no pressure. They played more free. We had pressure.

“We’re not happy. It’s not normal but we have the same enthusiasm to fight. There are three games and we must win all three. The dream is the same.”

Ancelotti was asked if he felt tiredness was an issue after Madrid’s exertions in routing Bayern Munich on Wednesday. The Coach pointed to the experiences this weekend of some of the other Champions Leagues to argue it was.

“I think mostly it was down to the physical aspect. Atletico and Chelsea had the same problem [Chelsea drew 0-0 at home with struggling Norwich City]. I think we paid for all this,” Ancelotti added.

“We need to focus and win all three games, but we know a draw between Barca and Atletico will be enough.”

The former Paris Saint-Germain boss was asked for his thoughts on a few of his players, from Marcelo, who returned to the starting XI, to Asier Illarramendi, who was withdrawn at half-time.

Ronaldo was also raised, specifically his stunning equaliser, a back-heel volley, although Ancelotti was more concerned with its importance than its spectacular nature.

“I think [Illarra] has the same ability to play the Champions League final that I did before,” Ancelotti replied when asked about his likely XI against Atletico, with Xabi Alonso suspended.

“He didn’t play well in the first-half.

“Marcelo is recovered. He is fighting to play in the final and I think I will decide on the day. But I’m calm.

“Cristiano’s goal was very important because losing the match is losing the League. The goal gives us options.”

Ancelotti concluded by turning his attention to midweek, when Real Madrid host Real Valladolid in a game rearranged from earlier in the season. A win would take Madrid second on 86 points, one ahead of Barca and two behind Atletico.

“I don’t think this game was an advantage before and now a disadvantage. You have to play and that’s it,” he said.

“We are well prepared for this game. We’re in the habit of playing every three days. We’ll do well on Wednesday.”

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