Ancelotti: “Defensive commitment is the key, if the players haven’t understood it, I’ll repeat it every day” | Sports

Real Madrid’s romp in Montilivi left their coach, Carlo Ancelotti, very disappointed with the defensive performance of his players: “Without the ball, we haven’t been forceful as we have been in other games. Commitment. We have left too many transitions. The start of the game was good with the ball, but without the ball we left too much space, and they scored two goals against us on the first two occasions”. There, in his first response at the end of the meeting on the Movistar microphone, was already the key word of the night for the coach: “commitment”.

Ancelotti has been insisting in public for weeks, after doing so in private in the work sessions in Valdebebas, that it is essential for them to defend well, and that the only effective thing to defend well is collective commitment, that everyone do it. A few days ago he even stressed in an appearance that the key to success last year had been that trade union aspect. In Girona, he saw how everything they had advanced fell apart: “Defensive commitment is too important to be successful. If we don’t have a defensive commitment, this team has a hard time winning games. If this team has a defensive commitment, it wins every game. This is the key to success. We have extraordinary quality that has to be supported by a defensive commitment that we didn’t have today, ”he lamented a little later. “In the last seven games, six clean sheets. And today you concede four goals because the defensive commitment was not the usual one. The players understand this, they have understood it. And if you haven’t understood it, I’m going to repeat it every day”.

The Italian appeared especially upset by the collapse of what he saw that they had built in recent weeks. The bump happened just hours after he explained that he considered the remaining league games very important to sustain the competitive level before the Copa del Rey final and the Champions League semifinal: “The team had a good defensive run and it is inexplicable that we have conceded”.

Madrid’s defensive slump, concentrated in a game full of strange gaps by Eder Milittão, served to make Girona’s plan work, which was summed up by their coach, Míchel: “We have had a mentality at all times of knowing how to suffer when they have put us in back. Especially at the beginning of the game, when they came out with a very large superiority, the first play was almost a goal. We have known how to suffer, ”he said. And he explained the second phase of his plan: “We always had to get out so they would run back.” And there they found the concessions of those of Ancelotti.

And with the inspiration of a forward illuminated like never before. Argentine Taty Castellanos, imported in the summer from New York City, another City Football Group franchise that also controls Girona, and Guardiola’s Manchester team scored four goals with just five shots: “A dream night, I never imagined this” , summed up the striker. “It was a dream to score against Madrid, and score four against them, I didn’t even imagine it.”

The feat also came to him after a very painful mistake in the last game against Barça, which Míchel recalled: “He had that mistake, it seemed that the world was falling on him. He turned off Twitter and everything. I told him, ‘It’s your first season here. Rhythm has nothing to do with it, neither does tactics, and game situations, you have to adapt”. Against Madrid all the pieces fit again.

Ancelotti is confident that his shaken team will find its place again: “This game does not do justice to what Real Madrid is. We are not the team tonight. A bad night. We apologize,” he said. “The fan is hurt, and we apologize. He is hurt, as are we. But the Real Madrid fan knows very well that we will be in the final and also in the semifinal ”, he finished in reference to the two titles for which he is still fighting: the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.

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