Carlo Ancelotti has hailed his players for their dedication and professionalism after they came from behind to defeat fierce rivals Barcelona 3-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu.
In a thrilling 169th league meeting between the two giants, Neymar put the visitors ahead after only three minutes. But the Champions League and Copa del Rey holders hit back through Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe and Karim Benzema.
The win means Los Blancos sit just one point behind Barcelona in the table and are right back in the hunt for the league.
Speaking to journalists after the game, Ancelotti hailed his side’s work rate and desire to win.
“I’m satisfied with these players because of the unique amount of dedication and professionalism they put into their work. They are able to concentrate, they follow instructions and the playing philosophy. It is difficult to compare them to other teams, but I think this is a very serious squad,” he said.
And he added: “The defensive problems have nothing to do with quality, but rather sacrifice, eagerness to run and work together. I have very serious and professional players who know what it means to work for Real Madrid and make sacrifices for the team.”
When asked what pleased him most about the game, Ancelotti said he was happy his players kept their heads and stuck to their game plan, even after going behind so early on.
“The effort we put in stands out. We didn’t lose our heads after going a goal behind. We stuck to our plan and everything worked out well. I liked a lot of things about the team today. We played very well and at a high tempo,” Ancelotti stated.
“We stuck to the same plan, not only attacking on the break but also keeping possession. We showed we had chances to win the game in the first half. And we won the encounter in the second half because we wanted it so much.”