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Carlo Ancelotti Expresses His Concern After Real Madrid Draw With RB Leipzig

Carlo Ancelotti - Real Madrid

Carlo Ancelotti didn’t mince words about Real Madrid’s lackluster performance in their 1-1 Champions League round-of-16 draw with RB Leipzig on Wednesday, labeling it a “bad game” and emphasizing the need for improvement despite advancing 2-1 on aggregate.

Vinícius Júnior broke the deadlock for Madrid in the 65th minute at the Santiago Bernabeu, courtesy of Jude Bellingham’s assist. However, Willi Orbán swiftly equalized for Leipzig three minutes later, leading to a tense finale, with Leipzig’s Dani Olmo rattling the crossbar in added time.

“It was a bad game, with low intensity,” Ancelotti candidly admitted to Movistar. “The psychological aspect influenced our performance.

We faced a quality opponent playing without pressure, and we seemed inhibited from start to finish. We endured difficulties, but the main objective was to secure a spot in the quarterfinals, and we achieved that.”

Real Madrid Team

Madrid struggled to muster a shot on target in the first half, prompting Ancelotti to make a halftime substitution, introducing forward Rodrygo for midfielder Eduardo Camavinga.

“Our intention was to apply more pressure, deploying energetic midfielders, but we played cautiously,” Ancelotti explained. “There was a lack of pressing, slow ball movement, and a reluctance to play forward, opting for sideways passes instead.

“Clearly, it wasn’t a satisfactory performance. The responsibility lies with me. Occasionally, such underwhelming displays can occur in the Champions League. We experienced a similar scenario against Chelsea at home [in April 2022]. However, one subpar outing shouldn’t overshadow our  progress.”

Despite the underwhelming display, Madrid secured their place in the Champions League quarterfinals, joining Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, and Manchester City.

Real Madrid vs RB Leipzig – CL Round of 16

“We currently hold a seven-point lead in the league and have advanced to the quarterfinals. Had we been offered this scenario at the season’s outset, we would’ve gladly accepted it,” Ancelotti reflected during the post-match press conference.

Acknowledging the need for self-reflection and improvement, Ancelotti added, “Perhaps my initial lineup selection was flawed. We must critique ourselves constructively and strive to do better… Today’s criticism is entirely warranted. The halftime jeers from the crowd were justified.”

Madrid defender Antonio Rüdiger echoed Ancelotti’s sentiments, expressing disappointment with their performance but emphasizing the importance of advancing.

“We endured considerable challenges. They performed admirably, while we fell short. It was a lackluster, sluggish display with minimal intensity. In the Champions League, such lapses can prove costly… Despite our shortcomings today, we’ve progressed.”

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