Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti said “winning comes first” rather than playing with an entertaining style after his team grabbed late winners against Inter Milan and Valencia last week to maintain their impressive start to the season.
An 89th minute strike from Rodrygo gave Madrid a 1-0 victory over Inter at San Siro in their Champions League opener last Wednesday, while an 88th-minute Karim Benzema goal secured all three points when they faced Valencia at Mestalla in LaLiga on Sunday.
“Winning comes first. But you have more chances of winning if you play well,” Ancelotti said in a news conference on Tuesday. “Then you have to consider: what does it mean to play well? The team that doesn’t have the ball plays too. Playing well means defending well. The key word for me in football is balance, doing well with and without the ball.
“We can improve in the consistency of our play, and the defensive aspect.
“We’ve played six games, five of them away… We’ve played away in places like Seville, Valencia, Milan. This team has balls.”
When asked to define his style, Ancelotti said: “It’s a very complicated question, I’d need time to explain it. A coach has to take into account the history and tradition of each club, evaluate the characteristics of the players, and then choose a style that takes into account those two things.”
Ancelotti said he was unsurprised by media reports that Marco Asensio, who is yet to start a game this season, is unhappy with his lack of playing time.
“It could be that Asensio isn’t happy, that’s quite normal,” Ancelotti said. “It would be abnormal for a player who doesn’t play to be happy.
“If Asensio isn’t happy, good. If Isco isn’t happy, good. If [Luka] Jovic isn’t happy, good… All the players who aren’t playing are training well. That’s more problems for me.
“Asensio, like Isco, like Jovic, will get minutes. Jovic played 10 minutes against Valencia and was important. Isco changed the dynamic of the match when he came on. That’s what we need. I don’t like players who don’t play and are happy.”
Ancelotti suggested he would make changes to the team that faces Mallorca but said it would be hard to rest the in-form Vinicius Junior, who has scored five goals in five league games this season.
“When a player is in form it’s difficult, if there’s no big problem of tiredness,” he said. “At 20 years old, you can play two games in a row.”