Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti highlighted the injury of midfielder Luka Modric as a key factor in his side’s failure to win La Liga this season.
A 4-1 victory at Espanyol was not enough to keep Real in the title race as Barcelona clinched La Liga with a 1-0 success at Atletico Madrid.
Ancelotti praised his players’ efforts, but noted the absence of Modric, who missed four months of the season with a hamstring strain and a further six weeks with a medial collateral ligament sprain.
Ancelotti said: “Injuries have burdened us, especially Modric. I think that with Isco, James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos, the team played well and we achieved many victories with this system.
“Modric has missed most of the year and this has hurt us.”
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his seventh hat-trick of the season as Real cruised to victory at Espanyol, but their final game of the season – at home to Getafe – has been rendered meaningless.
Ancelotti, who is facing intense speculation over his future, added: “We had a very good attitude and it was easy to motivate the players. I appreciate the great work they have done.
“We have to prepare for the final game with professionalism and until the last minute our heads must be held high, because we have not won, but we have fought.”
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