Carlo Ancelotti has taken satisfaction from Real Madrid’s closing fixture of 2013 and also looked ahead to what 2014 will present as a challenge.
Los Blancos ended Week 17 with three points at Mestalla, with Jese Rodriguez’s late strike the odd goal in five against hosts Valencia.
“When a team changes the Coach it has a lot of motivation and desire,” mused Ancelotti after the 3-2 win on Sunday night, which saw Angel di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo twice before give Madrid the lead.
“The match was difficult but we did well overall. We needed to play with a high pace and after the first goal we dropped that a little.
“It was a good match and we had wanted to win until the last minute. We suffered but this result is very important.”
The Italian was asked to surmise his hopes for the team heading into 2014, which they do five points behind Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in the League table.
“I am pleased with this first part of the season and I have high hopes for 2014. The team keeps fighting, working hard and has a lot of quality.
“We have lost some points whilst looking to play the way we wanted. I think 2014 may be very good for Real Madrid.
“Five points aren’t insignificant. This match was very important and we had a lot of pressure on us. We started this match eight points behind and it is not easy.
“At this point the table is clear. Barcelona and Atletico are doing very well. They have five points more than us and are the favourites right now, but I have high hopes for the second half of the season.”
Madrid notably conceded two headed goals to Los Che, to highlight a continued focus on their defending of set-pieces.
“It is true we have let in a lot of goals from set pieces. We’ve have conceded goals from dead ball situations in the last two matches, but we have only conceded two goals in 26 matches.
“The last two matches were not good, but the other 24 were very good. Everything will go well with more concentration at set pieces.”