Liga - Ancelotti delighted, Simeone gracious after Copa clash

Carlo Ancelotti was impressed with his players in Real Madrid’s 3-0 Copa del Rey win over Atletico Madrid.

Liga - Simeone accepts blame for defeat

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Carlo Ancelotti and Diego Simeone

Goals from Pepe, Jese and Angel Di Maria gave Los Blancos a commanding victory in the semi-final first-leg, with the return to come at Vicente Calderon next week.

“The result is very good and so is the performance, but we have to be careful because we have played only the first-half,” Ancelotti said at his post-match Press conference.

“Next week we play the second-half and we have to do the same.

“Today though I am completely satisfied.”

Ancelotti was asked to compare his Madrid side today to the Madrid side beaten by Atletico in the League earlier in the season.

“We have changed a lot,” he replied.

“Especially in the nature of our play and also because we are a more compact team.

“Today we worked well and I think my players have played a very good game.

“The result is very good but Atletico will do everything possible to recover the tie.

“They are a strong and aggressive team. We have to prepare well, like we did for tonight.”

Atletico will be without Diego Costa for the second-leg after the forward was booked in what was a feisty encounter.

“He’s a very dangerous player,” Ancelotti said of Costa.

“The game was intense and there were some crossed words but in the end everything went well.

“The game had a lot of aggression which is why there were so many fouls.”

Gareth Bale missed the game but Ancelotti revealed the Wales international is likely to play this weekend against Villarreal, particularly with Cristiano Ronaldo facing a three-game suspension, pending appeal.

“I preferred to rest Bale today,” Ancelotti said.

“On Saturday I may not be able to use Cristiano so a fresh Bale will be good.

“Everyone knows that Jese is a very, very important player for us.

“I think all the players have done a fantastic job and we’ll see if he plays on Saturday. Bale probably will.”

Ancelotti, who described the performance of his back four as “perfect”, moved on to discussing the Ronaldo suspension further.

“Nobody is happy about this. Three games is not normal,” the Italian argued.

“So we made an appeal and it would be normal to remove some games.”

Diego Simeone accepted that Real Madrid deserved to beat Atletico - although El Cholo has not given up the tie just yet.

“Is it possible? There are 90 minutes of football still to be played,” Simeone said.

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“Madrid played a very good game and should be congratulated. We couldn’t match them.

“[Diego] Godin had a chance but couldn’t score.

“We tried and put in lots of effort, looked for ways to hurt them, but couldn’t today.”

Simeone did however point out that fortune favoured Madrid, particularly on the first goal, scored by Pepe, and the third from Angel Di Maria.

“Two goals came off the body of a player,” Simeone said.

“And there were many other occasions besides. But the result is still very positive for our opponent.”

Before the game the appointment of Clos Gomez as referee had been a contentious issue, but Simeone believes the official handled the fractious tie well.

“The referee didn’t influence the game or last year’s Cup final either.

“They decide on whatever they see.

“The referee must be aware of both teams and whistle what they see. Always remember that.”

Simeone acknowledged that Madrid’s high-tempo game caused problems for his players, who he felt were unable to get going.

“We couldn’t connect as we wanted to.

“They pressed well when they lost the ball and had fortune with the first goal with a ball that was going out. It came to them well.

“Madrid is always very strong. The times I’ve seen them when they’re not were strange.

“We lacked combinations and didn’t get into one-on-one situations.

“Arda had a header, Godin had a chance, but there weren’t many chances on goal.

“Yes, they had a lot more of the ball and pressured better when they didn’t have it.”

Simeone also denied that the defeat was a result of Atletico’s usually reliable defence breaking down.

“This wasn’t our worst game defensively, no. Two goals game from deflections, not chances on goal. But there were mistakes in the defence.”

Read the original article on Football Espana - The ultimate website for English-speaking fans of Spanish football

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