≡ Menu

Ancelotti: Title race will go down to final day

carlo-ancelotti-real-madridReal Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti believes the Spanish title race will not be decided until the final day of the season. Los Merengues won 2-0 at Elche on Sunday to move four points clear at the top of La Liga after nearest rivals Barcelona lost 1-0 at home to Malaga. Defending champions Atletico Madrid are third, just three points adrift of Barça.

“It was an important match given what happened with Barcelona,” Ancelotti told his club’s official website. “It has enabled us to pull further away from Barça.

“We did well in every aspect of the game. The team really understood that this was an important match and everyone worked really hard.

“With this kind of attitude we are going to win a lot of games. We have an advantage in the standings, but all will be decided in the last game of the season.”

Sunday’s encounter marked Ancelotti’s 100th game in charge of Real, and the former Chelsea manager is encouraged by his team’s recent performances. The Madrid heavyweights had gone into the contest after their midweek 2-0 triumph at Schalke in the UEFA Champions League. The victory in Elche was Real’s 20th of the campaign and for the 11th time this season, they kept a clean sheet.

“It is pretty clear for all to see that following the defeat to Atletico (a 4-0 loss on February 7), we have now gone three games without conceding,” Ancelotti said. “That means the team is defending well. We didn’t give our opponents many opportunities in our last two games.

“We are improving bit by bit and we are also coming along in terms of fitness. We have to continue like this. We have done well and now we have to try to improve for the next 100 games.”

Ancelotti admitted he did not expect Barcelona to slip against Malaga on Saturday, a result which ended the Catalan outfit’s 11-match winning run in all competitions.

“It surprised me because they were enjoying a very good run of form,” he said.

Real, who finished in third place behind Atletico and Barcelona last season, host Villarreal on Sunday.