AnalyseWith the success at San Mamés, Real Madrid took another step out of the crisis. The appearance in Bilbao at least gives courage for the next few weeks. The next statement could now follow in the derby in the Copa quarter-finals.
Foto: ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images”> Enlarge
It’s good to smile again: Karim Benzema – Foto: ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images
Sport Ancelotti is right
The beauty of football is that it is so unpredictable and unpredictable. A lot can change within a few weeks, days or even minutes – both in one direction and the other. Real Madrid have been through such a rollercoaster ride again in the past few weeks. They came out of the World Cup break extremely sluggishly, won against fourth division CP Cacereño 1-0 in the cup with a lot of effort, but failed to return to the league in Villarreal 1-2. In the Supercopa that followed shortly thereafter, they also found it extremely difficult against Valencia in the semi-finals and only prevailed on penalties before crashing under their wheels in the final against arch-rivals Barcelona and losing 1-3.
The result was not necessarily particularly disappointing, even a final can and should be lost. A cause for concern was the behavior of the royals, who seemed incredibly phlegmatic and almost apathetic and endured the bankruptcy against the Catalans. In particular, the World Cup drivers such as Luka Modrić, Federico Valverde and Vinícius Júnior seemed pretty flat and overplayed after the exertion of the tournament in Qatar.
Carlo Ancelotti was only partially impressed by this phase in his well-known stoic manner. Immediately after the final, the Los Blancos head coach announced that Los Blancos could be expected again soon: “We’re not in a good phase and we have to endure it now. The team has the quality to come back and play in all competitions.”And the Italian was right.
Sport The second guard is pressing – defensive as a sticking point
The cup game in Villarreal initially seemed to be going like the last few weeks, when they were 2-0 down at halftime (again, well deserved) and seemed to pick up seamlessly from the weak performance against Barcelona. But Real Madrid wouldn’t be Real Madrid if they didn’t fight back in spectacular fashion. And that’s exactly what Los Blancos did, turning the game around with an energetic performance in the second half and still progressing to the quarter-finals.
However, the main roles were not necessarily taken by the usual suspects, but with Daniel Ceballos, Eduardo Camavinga and Marco Asensio, three actors played themselves to the fore, who ultimately formed the second link. Ancelotti has now rewarded the trio’s strong performances by being called up into the starting XI against Bilbao – and was by no means disappointed. In what was perhaps the team’s best performance this season, all three players showed a pleasing performance both in terms of play and fighting. Overall, the team seemed very focused during the 2-0 win at San Mamés and defensively much more solid than in the last few weeks. A fact that Ancelotti also emphasized after the game: „The team had a collective commitment that they never had in previous games. The analysis we made after the games that didn’t go well was correct: we didn’t defend well. We defended well today.”
Although the Basques also had to survive one or the other tricky pressure phase, this is really not uncommon in away games at San Mamés. After all, guest appearances in Bilbao – similar to Villarreal by the way – are considered the most unpleasant of the season. And then to emerge from these stadiums as winners in this situation deserves recognition.
Sport Weeks of truth are ahead
It may still be too early to speak of a trend reversal. Let alone Los Blancos winning anything at that point. Nevertheless, Karim Benzema and Co. have once again proven that they are extremely good at dealing with setbacks and difficult phases. And even more important: Players like Ceballos or (again) Nacho have proven that you can count on them at any time and that the established players shouldn’t rest on their laurels. With a view to the game plan in the coming weeks, this should become essential.
First is on Thursday in the Copa quarter-finals (9 p.m., in REAL TOTAL-Liveticker and at Sportdigital) the derby with Atlético is on the program before the next top game in the league against third-placed Real Sociedad on Sunday (9 p.m.). Two trend-setting duels in which you could finally swim free and make further statements – and which can be decisive for the fact that the cracker weeks at the end of February and beginning of March with the duels against Liverpool (Champions League), Atlético, Betis and Barcelona ( each league) with a positive mood and from a good starting position. Land the ultimate liberation with a derby win in a KO game and lay the foundation for a successful remainder of the season? Sounds like a typical football and real life story…
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