Carlo Ancelotti believes not having Cristiano Ronaldo motivated the rest of the Real Madrid players into a better performance.
Madrid beat Villarreal 4-2 on Saturday evening with goals from Gareth Bale and Jese and a Karim Benzema brace.
It was the first game of Ronaldo’s three-match suspension and Ancelotti told reporters at his post-match Press conference that missing the Portuguese pushed other players to step up.
“The absence of Cristiano gave us more motivation because he is an indispensable player for us,” Ancelotti said.
“Without him the rest work even harder.
“Bale has played well, like his teammates.
“It was not an easy game. I understand that after the work we put in against Atletico Madrid it was not easy to approach this game.
“But Bale scored the first goal, assisted the second and put in a good level of performance.”
The game also saw Luka Modric venerated by the Santiago Bernabeu crowd – deservedly, said Ancelotti – and another important contribution from Jese.
“At the moment Jese is very good for the team and he works hard.
“He’s doing what everyone wants from him. He’s doing very well for his age and it’s a good thing for everyone.”
Ancelotti also pointed to Benzema and praised more than the France striker’s goals.
“Benzema is very important to us, not only because of his goals but because he does other things, like defending. He’s a complete player.”
Madrid’s victory was perhaps marred by injuries to both left-backs, Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao, the former going off with back pain and the latter suffering a muscle problem in his leg.
Both had to be substituted – Coentrao had replaced Marcelo – and Ancelotti revealed that was the reason Isco didn’t see any action.
“He is in my thoughts every day because he has shown great quality and I know I can call on him in future,” Ancelotti said of the former Malaga midfielder.
“Today there was no time for him because of the two changes for injury on the left side, but he will be more involved in the next game.”
Madrid face Atletico in the Copa second-leg on Tuesday and the Coach admitted the hectic schedule was a concern.
“We have many games left and it’s not easy to prepare for all of them.
“We’re in good form because we have a lot of concentration but today was a different game. The energy was different.”