Carlo Ancelotti has said he is happy with Real Madrid’s current League position after gaining ground on the top two.
Barcelona and Atletico Madrid both drew over the weekend, while Madrid hammered Real Betis 5-0.
There is now only a point separating the top three, with Barca still leading Atleti on goal difference and Madrid a win away from leapfrogging both of their rivals.
Speaking at a Press conference prior to the Copa del Rey game against Espanyol on Tuesday, Ancelotti revealed he hoped the season would go this way.
“We are now where we wanted to be when the season began. We look forward to playing the quarter-finals of the Cup, which is an important competition.
“We need to repeat the League match against Espanyol if possible.
“Aguirre may surprise us and he has a strong team, with great intensity.
“But the first-leg won’t decide the tie. It will be decided at the Bernabeu.”
Ancelotti suggested that in future Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo would share free-kick duties in an effort to play to their respective strengths.
Bale netted his third set-piece of the season against Betis and while Ronaldo has also scored three times from dead balls, his have come from far more attempts.
“Bale is stronger with his left and Cristiano with his right,” Ancelotti said.
“When I see Cristiano is tired I will give him a rest,” the Coach continued.
“But rotation is necessary sometimes. Everyone wants to play.”
Ancelotti was also asked about Isco’s chances of returning to the first team on a regular basis, with the Italian stressing he was content with the team’s formation of late.
“The three-man midfield is very good defensively so we will continue with the same system.
“But this system is difficult for Isco. He could play where Di Maria or Modric do, or as a false nine like Benzema.
“We’ll see about that tomorrow. We haven’t forgotten the other system with Isco as the playmaker.”
Ancelotti also said the Copa would come too soon for Raphael Varane, who returned to training over the weekend.
The former Milan and Chelsea boss added he was pleased with Madrid’s improved defensive record.
“His knee is getting better and I hope to have him in the next 10 days when he gets his sharpness back.
“I’ve talked a lot about the team’s balance and I think we’ve achieved that now.
“We need to keep scoring goals and we’re better defensively because the individual quality of the defenders is better.”