Former Real Madrid coach Leo Beenhakker has hailed current boss Carlo Ancelotti’s achievement in closing in on a club record run of unbeaten games.
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After defeating Elche 3-0 at home on Saturday, Madrid have now gone 26 games without defeat. This means they are nearing the club’s best-ever run of 34 matches unbeaten, set by Beenhakker’s La Liga and Copa del Rey double-winning side of 1988-89, which was built around the famous “Quinta del Buitre” homegrown generation led by forward Emilio Butragueno.
And the Dutchman told AS that he is really impressed with how Ancelotti’s side are playing at the moment, while joking that he is worried about losing his place in Estadio Santiago Bernabeu history.
“Ancelotti has a great team, and it is clear he can catch up with the record,” Beenhakker said. “They are playing football at a very high level. Everything works well, and I am happy for them. I am going to send Ancelotti an email which says: ‘Hey Carlo, you’re my friend, but keep your hands off my record!’”
The current Trinidad and Tobago director of football said he is especially impressed with Ancelotti’s man-management and ability to keep a squad full of big names happy even when all of them cannot play at once.
“[Ancelotti] is showing he is a master with the way he manages well all these figures,” Beenhakker said. “He seems to have them all really plugged in. They are all committed, not just 11, not 14, but more. All of them. He knows how to manage very complicated matters.”
Saturday’s game was settled by a 30-yard Gareth Bale stunner, which put his side 2-0 up midway through the second half, while youngster Jese Rodriguez was less eye-catching than in recent games.
Beenhakker said it is “logical” for Bernabeu fans to feel affection for home-grown kids, something which had happened during his time with Butragueno, Miguel Pardeza, Manolo Sanchis, Michel and Rafael Martin Vazquez.
“Sometimes a jewel comes out of Madrid’s school,” he said. “Jese is one of them. It is always nice to see a youngster triumph because the fans identify more with these kids, they feel the club more. It happened with the “Quinta” -- people who had come up through the club. But it is logical.”
Bale had, however, shown his worth again, Beenhakker said, while suggesting that the winger’s best form is still to come.
“Having said that, give Bale time, he is a great player and has shown with his goals that he can be useful for this Madrid side,” he said. “I know from experience that you need more time to adapt. It is not a computer where you press a button and off it goes. It is a radical change in his life -- another country, another culture. He is a great player.”