Ancelotti: “We took a bit of a breather”

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Carlo Ancelotti said the score was the only thing that mattered after Real Madrid performed under-par but still saw off Almeria 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night.

James Rodriguez, a Maura Dos Santos own goal and Alvaro Arbeloa handed Madrid a 3-0 win that closes the gap at the top of La Liga back to two points.

It was not vintage Madrid but with players such as Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Luka Modric injured, Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal suspended and Isco and Marcelo rested, it was a case of ‘job done’ after a what Ancelotti described to be a “tiring week” and ahead of a crucial run of matches against Sevilla, Juventus and Valencia.

“It was a transitional match,” said the Italian. “We didn’t play with a lot of intensity or with a lot of quality. We came into it on the back of a really physically and mentally tiring week. Today we took a bit of a breather, we didn’t play with a lot of intensity, but we always had the scoreboard under control.”

He continued: “All the players did what they had to do. Those who don’t tend to play always can find it more difficult. I’m happy with the work everyone did, including those who maybe didn’t have a great match, but put in a lot of effort.”

Ancelotti decided against bringing Martin Odegaard off the bench to see him become the club’s youngest-ever player but says there is plenty of time for the Norwegian to make his bow.

“He has to work, train and adapt,” said Ancelotti. “He’s very young. Today he was with the match squad for the first time and he has time in the future to make his debut.”

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