Carlo Ancelotti hails midfield duo

Carlo Ancelotti hails midfield duo


Carlo Ancelotti singled out Real Madrid’s central midfielder partnership of Xabi Alonso and Asier Illarramendi for particular praise after his side’s 5-0 win over Almeria on Saturday evening.

Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, Isco and Alvaro Morata saw off the relegation-battling hosts at the Estadio Juegos Mediterraneos and gave Los Blancos their fourth consective La Liga win, with the team having scored 20 in the process.

But speaking after the match, Ancelotti said Alonso and Illarramendi gave his side a solid platform in which to build going forward, and hailed their efforts in front of the defence too, enabling Diego Lopez to keep a clean sheet.

“I think it was a good game. It was important not to concede goals, and the whole team played well together. It’s important to have a template that the players have no difficulty playing with each other. Illarramendi and Xabi [Alonso] played very well. The team was balanced thanks to these two,” Ancelotti told reporters after the final whistle.

He added that for most of the match he was happy, but admitted they took their foot of the pedal at times. “We only lost a little control in the last 15 minutes of the first half when we played a bit slower, but those are small details. Today was a different game and I think we should be happy,” he stated.

Asked whether the Alonso and Illarramendi axis will be one supporters can expect now this season following Sami Khedira’s injury, the Italian boss said their are plenty of options he will still continue to consider and assess for each game.

“Illarramendi has worked well for two weeks and was in good condition like Isco, who also worked well. Our young players have a lot of quality. Casemiro can replace Khedira in the line-up because they share similar characteristics,” he said.