Carlo Ancelotti thanked his Atletico Madrid counterpart Diego Simeone for praising Real Madrid’s defense after the club won the derby on Sunday.
Madrid won their sixth league game in a row thanks to goals from Rodrygo and Federico Valverde in the first half.
Madrid were good value for the win at the Civitas Metropolitano, despite Mario Hermoso pulling one back before being sent off late on for two bookings.
Simeone praised Ancelotti’s work in his post-match press conference, praising Madrid’s defensive organization in a “low block” and their effectiveness on the break, comparing them to his 2013-14 Atletico Madrid side.
His remark that critics accused Atletico of being “defensive” may have been interpreted as a backhanded compliment for Madrid by some, but Ancelotti chose not to take the cynical view.
“I think we managed very well defensively at the start of the first half, then we were comfortable with the goals, and in the second half we got rid of the idea of doing damage,” Ancelotti said.
“It affected us because in the end, we suffered.” Atletico pushed us and caused us problems.
“Yes, we’ve defended with a low block before, and we’re used to it.” We eliminated the possibility of [Atletico] breaking up with [Antoine] Griezmann or Joao Felix. We had good control over them thanks to the low block.
“If Simeone says we defended well in a low block, I say thank you; it’s a compliment.”
“Perfection does not exist; the ideal football is to score many goals while not conceding.”
This season, Madrid’s two goal scorers have emerged as key players, taking on more responsibility after previously serving as rotation options.
Rodrygo started in attack in place of the injured Karim Benzema and led the line effectively, earning LaLiga’s MVP award for the match, and Ancelotti was quick to praise him and Valverde.
“Both of them are very special players because they represent what the modern footballer must be now, who must play in different positions, have physique, and technique,” Ancelotti added.
“Both of them have made significant progress, and we are overjoyed because they are doing so well.”