Lackluster Real Madrid missed a chance to restore their lead over FC Barcelona to 4 points as resolute Villarreal held their nerves until the end. The Los Blancos fans were angry at the decision of Ancelotti to substitute Isco in the second half but the coach defended his decision and put the blame on the fans.
Real Madrid played an extremely slow game in the first half as both the teams failed to create any clear chances. But Cristiano Ronaldoa s spot-kick gave Real Madrid the breakthrough following a foul on him inside the box by Villarreala s Eric Bailly in the second half.
However, the lead of Real Madrid did not last long. A spirited Villarreal side drew level just after 12 minutes as Gerard Moreno equalized through with the help of a loose ball.
Real Madrid were struggling to match the tempo of Villarreal and Ancelotti decided to take off Isco in the second half. This decision of Ancelotti did not go down well with the Santiago Bernabeu faithful as they booed their boss.
But later in his press conference, Ancelotti defended his decision.
“The Isco change was to give more balance to the team,” Ancelotti told reporters.
“A manager is down there on the pitch to make changes, because he thinks that they are for the good of the team. If the fans don’t understand it, well I’m sorry, but I made the decision in order to give more balance to the team.”
Carlo Ancelotti also blasted his players for not showing enough creativity. He said: “There were two parts. The first, in which we played at too slow a rhythm, we didn’t create the chances apart from crosses into the centre, the ball moved around too slowlya In the second half things picked up a little; we had chances, but weren’t effective converting them. But we had our opportunities.”
The question marks are being raised over the fitness of Real Madrid players now as they looked tired against Villarreal. But Ancelotti said that everything is fine and his players are not tired.
“If it were due to physical tiredness, we would have lost our rhythm in the second half, not the first. It’s the type of game where we had difficulty creating danger apart from just crossing the ball in. Later we started to get more movement down the wings, but only moving the ball slowly.”