Ancelotti cools Madrid title talk
A cautious Carlo Ancelotti insisted the Primera Division race is far from over after Real Madrid extended their lead at the top of the table with a 3-0 home win over Levante.
Atletico Madrid are second in the table, with Barcelona a further point back after Saturday’s shock 1-0 loss at Real Valladolid, with Madrid now firm favourites to regain the trophy.
Los Blancos’ form in 2014 has been superb, while both Atletico and Barca having stumbled regularly in recent weeks, but Ancelotti told his postmatch news conference on Sunday that it was much too early for anyone to get carried away yet.
“We have a small advantage but we do not think about it,” Ancelotti said. “We just look at the next game and try to win it. We were behind for a while and now it's our good moment, and we have to carry on that way. I'm happy with the match we played.
“The important thing is to win the league, it does not matter how you do it. I think it will go right down until the wire because there are two teams very close to us. For Real Madrid it is clear that the objectives are the three competitions.”
Well taken goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo, and an unfortunate own goal from Levante left-back Nikos Karabelas sealed the win for Madrid, while defender Sergio Ramos also managed to pick up the booking which means he misses next weekend’s trip to Malaga through suspension but is available for the La Liga clash with Barcelona at the Bernabeu on March 23.
Angel Di Maria, who was booked against Levante for an innocuous handball, is now one yellow card away from missing that crunch clasico game. The Argentina winger suggested in the mixed zone that he would prefer to sit out the Malaga game just in case.
“It will be the boss’ decision,” Di Maria told Marca. “It is difficult to decide, I would prefer not to play, if it was up to me. I go into challenges all the time, and I would prefer not to take any risks. I want to play in the clasico.”
Gareth Bale said afterwards that he and his teammates had been boosted by Barca’s shock defeat at struggling Valladolid.
“It was a very important game because we saw yesterday’s game and that gave us motivation,” the Welsh winger said in AS. “Yes, this is a good position to be in. We have to keep what we have done and keep going like we have been doing. There are lots of difficult games left.”
And Bale said Madrid needed to focus now on Malaga, and then the Champions League last-16 second leg at home to Schalke, before thinking about the Barca game.
“We cannot think about the clasico, we must go from game to game,” Bale added. “That is what we have done up to now, and we must continue like that.”