Carlo Ancelotti on defensive issues – ‘It’s not about quality, it’s sacrifice and mentality’

Real Madrid take on Real Betis in the Spanish Supercup semi-final on Wednesday night, and the pressure will be on if they do not get a favourable result.

Los Blancos are coming off their second defeat of the La Liga season against Villarreal, but also their third game dropping points in their last five. Just as concerning for Carlo Ancelotti was the fact that they were outplayed by Villarreal in their 2-1 defeat.

After the match, Ancelotti highlighted the defending as a key problem, and reports followed that the Italian was not pleased with Antonio Rudiger.

Speaking to the press ahead of the Betis match, Ancelotti was optimistic that matters would improve.

“The signs in training have been good. I was surprised by Villarreal. We have to do things well again, I’m not saying work, because we don’t have time to work. This team knows how to defend very well, up front we have the necessary quality, but it must be supported by a more solid foundation.”

It was put to Real Madrid manager that his side might be suffering form mental exhaustion from the World Cup, which could be affecting their motivation.

“I don’t notice the mental load on the players. We’re hurt by what happened to Villarreal. The Super Cup is a very important exam. When I was little, when I went to school, my grandmother used to tell me: ‘Put the book under your pillow’… I used to do that.”

A point of intrigue was that Ancelotti seemed to question his own players’ commitment to the cause.

“I am convinced that we will see a compact, solid block. The defensive issue is not one of quality, but of mentality and sacrifice.”

It seems that Ancelotti is clearly hoping for a reaction from his defenders against Betis. In his defence, Real Madrid’s backline was opened up on numerous occasions by Villarreal, with all four of the backline committing significant errors. Given Ferland Mendy and David Alaba were not at the World Cup, those issues are unlikely to be down to fatigue.

Tags Carlo Ancelotti Real Betis Real Madrid Spanish Supercup
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