Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti praised his players’ reaction from their Copa del Rey elimination at the hands of Atletico Madrid in midweek to move four points clear at the top of Spain’s La Liga with a 3-0 win over Getafe.
Victory ensured the European champions will top the table at the halfway mark of the campaign and Ancelotti believes they are well on course for just a second league title in seven years. “This first-half of the season has been very good,” said the Italian.
“We started with some problems and then had a great run. We suffered a defeat in Valencia, but the team has great desire to win this competition and we are well-positioned. We just need to keep going.”
It was far from vintage performance by Ancelotti’s men for large spells at the Alfonso Perez Coliseum, but there was no way back for Getafe after a wonderful piece of skill by Karim Benzema teed up Cristiano Ronaldo to slot home the opener just after the hour mark. Gareth Bale then doubled the visitors’ lead before Ronaldo rounded off the scoring with his 36th goal of the season.
“At the start we played a bit slow, but I liked the performance because the team played with intelligence and much better in the second-half than the first. I think the whole team played well, but the assist by Karim opened the game up for us. It was extraordinary.”
Madrid have failed to hit the heights of the form they showed on a 22-game winning run to finish 2014 so far this year as they were beaten by Valencia in La Liga before falling to rivals Atletico in the Cup. However, Ancelotti is confident his side are slowly finding their way back to top form. “I think the intensity with which we played at the end of the year was a little bit better, but the team is improving. Little by little we are returning to our best level.”
Captain Iker Casillas had a comfortable afternoon in goal as Getafe failed to register a single shot on target. And he echoed Ronaldo’s words after the elimination to Atletico in midweek that a lack of Cup action in the coming weeks could boost their league campaign.
“Unfortunately we lost in the Cup where we were the holders, but there are no excuses,” he said. Now we have more time to prepare for games and can train harder. As Cristiano said, we hope it will be one step backwards to take two forwards further down the line.”