Sunday, January 29, 2023

Ancelotti acknowledges Madrid shortcomings despite Supercopa semi-final success

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 11 Jan 2023

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Carlo Ancelotti conceded Real Madrid were far from their best against Valencia, though that did not stop Los Blancos from reaching the Supercopa de Espana final.

Karim Benzema’s first-half penalty seemingly had Los Blancos on course for victory after a dominant opening 45 minutes, but Samuel Lino equalised immediately after the interval for a resurgent Valencia.

Giorgi Mamardashvili kept Gennaro Gattuso’s side in the semi-final clash in Riyadh with a series of extra-time stops, though Madrid prevailed on penalties after Eray Comert and Jose Gaya failed to convert.

Ancelotti acknowledged Madrid’s shortcomings after the 4-3 shoot-out victory following an underwhelming 1-1 draw, suggesting the World Cup break may have played its part in a lack of sharpness.

The Madrid head coach told reporters: “It hasn’t been a physical problem because in extra time we’ve done better than them. We’re not at the top but it’s normal.

“There are players who started a little while after the World Cup. We’ve put players who were on the limit like [Ferland] Mendy and [Dani] Carvajal.

“We wanted to reach the final and that’s what we’ve done. It’s a different moment from last year but I think we’re going to fight hard to win the Super Cup.”

Benzema, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos all converted their spot-kicks, with Ancelotti preferring to go with experience for his first three takers before Marco Asensio found the net with Madrid’s fourth penalty.

“I put the three players with the most experience, the best,” he added. “The last one was Vinicius [Junior] and it is better that he did not shoot.”

The victory did seemingly come at a cost, though, as Eduardo Camavinga, Eder Militao and Lucas Vazquez all sustained injuries.

“Camavinga has had a blow to the knee, Militao is dizzy and is fine,” Ancelotti continued. “Lucas has a sprain, that is the most serious. I don’t know if he will be in Sunday’s game.”

LaLiga leaders Barcelona, who Madrid trail by three points, or Real Betis await in Sunday’s final after the second semi-final in Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

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