Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said Javier Hernandez’s place in their XI was not negotiable, after another productive performance from the Mexico international.
Making just his third La Liga start this season, Hernandez fired in a brace in Real’s 4-2 win at Celta Vigo on Sunday – which took the European champions to within two points of pacesetters Barcelona with five games to play.
Hernandez has scored four goals in as many appearances in all competitions, crucially firing in the winner to send Real into the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.
Ancelotti said Hernandez had played himself into a starting spot.
“Chicharito is enjoying himself and keeping his momentum. He’s being really helpful for the team,” Ancelotti said.
“As for the rest, I thought they did great – it is true we struggled at certain moments but it’s also true that we were really efficient attacking.
“Playing at the level he is right now, Chicharito’s place in the team isn’t negotiable.
“Same applies for [Karim] Benzema, [Gareth] Bale, [Cristiano] Ronaldo, James [Rodriguez], Isco, [Sergio] Ramos, Pepe, [Raphael] Varane.
“As I said I count on a team that isn’t negotiable.
“Only 11 players can play at the same time and the rest sit on the bench.”
Toni Kroos and James were Real’s other goal-scorers, in a fluctuating game in Vigo.
Celta led early but went into half-time trailing 3-2, before Hernandez sealed the three points with his 69th-minute goal.
“We enjoyed playing offensively and taking risks. Celta played this way also. In the end it was an attractive game for the fans,” Ancelotti said.
On the title race, the Italian added: “For the time being we don’t think about what other teams do. We are only focused on our duties.
“We are doing well after the defeat against Barcelona. We try to be in contention for the title until the very end. That’s our objective.”
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