Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has rejected criticism of his handling of their Copa del Rey defeat at Athletic Bilbao.
Los Blancos are comfortable at the top of the domestic championship, but will need to show a reaction to the defeat to Athletic Club, with the continued absence of Karim Benzema a real problem for the former AC Milan coach.
“I’m the one who sees the players every day,” Ancelotti declared in his pre-match press conference.
“I’m not hurt, I’m used to this, to living through these moments, as Real Madrid coach you always have to make decisions.
“Sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong, it’s nothing new.”
Gareth Bale was pictured laughing on the bench during Los Merengues’ defeat to Athletic Club, yet Ancelotti gave questions about the matter rather short shrift.
“I didn’t see it, I don’t know why he laughed, but it doesn’t seem important to me,” he added.
“I wanted to put Hazard on in extra-time, and that’s why he warmed up.
“We’re fine, we’ve had injuries to Karim, Mendy and Mariano but they all return next week and this difficult period is going to end.”
Karim Benzema not being present has really hindered the team’s ability to score goals and play as a cohesive attacking unit, yet Ancelotti has made clear that this can’t come as a surprise, given the Frenchman’s quality.
“The player who is the top scorer is missing,” he continued.
“Every team has a player like that, and if he’s missing then it’s clear you’re going to lose something.
“We’ve had games without him where we have played well and won.”
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