Real Madrid lost out on two points by a matter of seconds on Sunday night, conceding an equaliser to Atletico Madrid in the 93rd minute at the Santiago Bernabeu. Memphis Depay flicked on a long ball unchallenged, and Marcos Llorente would then rise unencumbered again to head home. It’s a problem that Carlo Ancelotti foresaw, but the club ignored.
After the match, Ancelotti highlighted the fact that Atletico had an aerial advantage on Sunday.
“I think it was a very good match on our part, controlled well, we were unlucky to concede in the last minute. We lacked some height there, we were going to suffer there, but we did well. They deserved to win, we have won many games in the last minute, we cannot blame ourselves for anything.”
Of course part of the reason Los Blancos lacked height in the middle was due to Dani Carvajal partnering Nacho Fernandez in a makeshift central defensive partnership. The Italian coach was asked about the fact that Real Madrid had not gone into the transfer market in January to remedy their defensive injury woes, despite the fact David Alaba is out for the rest of the season, and Eder Militao will only return in March at the earliest after seven months out.
“It was a special game, two players who could be centre-backs were injured. The next game we will have both of them.”
He is of course referring to Aurelien Tchouameni, who was suspended, and Antonio Rudiger, who did not recover in time from a bruised thigh.
Yet Diario AS claim Ancelotti was in favour of signing a replacement both in the summer, after Militao went down, and again in January, following Alaba’s torn cruciate ligament. The club were keen to continue making savings ahead of what is predicted to be a big summer with the potential arrivals of Kylian Mbappe and Alphonso Davies though, and Ancelotti’s request was met with a deaf ear.
It is just one game of dropped points, and the return of Rudiger and Tchouameni should shore things up somewhat, but there is no doubt that Los Blancos have struggled since the exit of Alaba. While they still possess the best defence in Spain, and over half of these goals have come against Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid have conceded 13 goals in 8 matches, and amid concerns over Nacho’s form, Ancelotti will be hoping he isn’t left carrying the can for a strategy he was not in favour of.