Carlo Ancelotti hails influence of James Rodriguez in Bayern win
Carlo Ancelotti praised James Rodriguez's performance as Bayern Munich cruised back to the top of the Bundesliga table with a comfortable 3-0 win over Schalke on Tuesday.
James moved to Bayern this summer on a two-year loan deal from Real Madrid and he played a key role on his first Bundesliga start. The Colombia international was involved in all three goals for the German champions, who are chasing a sixth Bundesliga title in succession.
Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring from the penalty spot on 25 minutes after James's cross hit the hand of Schalke defender Naldo from close range. James doubled the lead four minutes later, before laying on a third for substitute Arturo Vidal with 15 minutes remaining.
"James played very well, with good combinations for the benefit of the team. Physically, he is still not at 100 percent yet though," Ancelotti told Sky after the final whistle.
"We played well from start to finish, with high intensity and defended compactly. But today they were all strong so it's difficult to single out a player. I'm happy with everyone."
Back-up goalkeeper Sven Ulreich filled in for captain Manuel Neuer who has been ruled out for the rest of the year following surgery on a broken foot on Tuesday.
Ulreich told Sky after the final whistle: "I am pleased with the clean sheet and it's always good to win three points away in Schalke. It's never easy to win here so I am happy. We made a few mistakes in our build-up play, but we scored some good goals and deservedly won.
"You have to feel for Manu. I wish him all the best for a quick recovery and everything goes well. Of course, the team is disappointed and we hope he comes back soon."
The former Stuttgart keeper added: "Of course, I'm happy to be getting some games. I'd be lying if I said I'm happy to be sat on the bench. I'm pleased to be playing and will do my best to fill in for Manu to the best of my ability. I want to help the team to be successful in the coming weeks."
Ahead of Bayern's trip to face Paris Saint-Germain next week in the Champions League, Ulreich said: "Of course, I am looking forward to the challenge of playing against world-class players. But we are a world-class team as well."
Teammate Joshua Kimmich echoed Ulreich's sentiment about the impact of Neuer's injury.
"It's brutal. He was injured for four months, fights his way back and gets injured again. That's hard to take and it's difficult for the team to have our captain missing. Manu is a big personality and we will miss him a lot," he said.
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.