Carlo Ancelotti has admitted his delight at banishing the demons of last season’s Clasico defeat following Real Madrid’s comfortable 3-1 victory over Barcelona on home soil.
The Santiago Bernabeu hosted a shock 4-0 victory for Barcelona in March last season, for which Ancelotti accepted the blame after he deployed Luka Modric in an unconventional false-nine role and completely disrupted the balance of his side.
They were missing star striker Karim Benzema that night but, with the Frenchman available this time around, he started up top and Modric retained his usual midfield role, and the lack of tinkering worked to perfection as goals from Benzema, Valverde and Rodrygo sealed all three points.
“I thought about last season and when I invented something… In this game, I tried to invent nothing and keep the players in their place,” Ancelotti confessed after the game. “I thought Modric was spectacular in midfield.
“We started with a low block defence last year as well but then we started putting other pieces on the field.”
When asked about his players’ celebrations with supporters after the game, Ancelotti confessed: “What happened last year brought us a lot closer to the fans.”
The win sees Real move three points clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga’s table, and Ancelotti admitted ‘everything’ went right for his side.
“We were better in the first half, more forceful,” he said. “We came out well and defended well against an opponent who presses very high. That was the key to the match.
“We had to play a complete match and we did it. The beginning was good, we got ahead quite early and controlled things well in the second half.
“It’s three points that we’ve taken from a direct rival, for a strong team with a lot of resources, but the season is very long. We’re happy with the game.”