Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti praised his players’ response to a difficult week on and off the field after beating Deportivo la Coruna to move four points clear at the top of La Liga.
Despite another indifferent performance, goals in either half from Isco and Karim Benzema were enough to ensure a return to winning ways after a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of local rivals Atletico Madrid last weekend. Further criticism was then heaped on certain members of the playing and coaching staff for attending Cristiano Ronaldo’s 30th birthday party hours after the defeat.
The crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu made their feelings known with boos before the game for goalkeeper Iker Casillas and Ancelotti himself. However, Ancelotti thanked the majority of the fans for not getting on the team’s back during a difficult spell.
“It wasn’t an easy game. We only played well in parts and we had difficulties,” said Ancelotti. “It was a difficult week and we have come out of it with a victory which is good. The team was a bit worried at the start, but in the end it went well.
“The fans have helped us and they understood the moment the team is going through to help us come out of this quickly. It is normal (for the fans to boo). It is frustrating to lose a derby 4-0, it is frustrating for the fans and for us. The support of the fans is important at this time.”
Madrid’s attention now turns to their defence of the UEFA Champions League as they visit Schalke in the first leg of their last 16 clash on Wednesday. And Ancelotti was keen to stress that there is still plenty to look forward to for Los Blancos this season despite an unnerving seven days.
“It was a peculiar week. It was a result that surprised us and frustrated us. The reaction of the team was very good. We are looking forward, in the league we still have an advantage and now the Champions League starts again.”
Isco also underlined the importance of the players regaining their confidence after what he described as the “body blow” of the Atletico result.
“I think the team needs to gain confidence for what is coming in the next few weeks. It was a strange game, it was tense at the start but we need to work together to get us to a better place when we can play better.
With the hard work and desire of everyone we can achieve it.”