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'It's not football' - Real Madrid boss Ancelotti slams Cacereno pitch after narrow Copa del Rey victory

13:34 GMT+3 04/01/2023
Ancelotti
Carlo Ancelotti was critical of the poor quality pitch at the Estadio Príncipe Felipe during Real Madrid's visit to Cacereno in the Copa del Rey.
  • Madrid struggled against fourth-tier Cacereno
  • Ancelotti hit out at pitch conditions following the win
  • Refrained from criticising Eden Hazard

WHAT HAPPENED? Los Blancos were clearly struggling to get a foothold against Cacereno until Rodrygo's moment of individual brilliance broke the deadlock in the game. Ancelotti's troops tried to stick to their style of short passes in the first half but most of them ended up being under or over cooked which showed that they were finding it difficult to understand the bounce and pace of the playing surface. In the second half, they resorted to playing long balls which did solve their problem to some extent but not substantially.

WHAT THEY SAID: Following their slender victory, Ancelotti hit out at the field conditions: "You can’t play football on that. In my opinion, it’s not football, it’s another sport. It’s beautiful because the small teams can compete with the big teams, it’s great for the fans, but the fans also want to see decent football matches."

AND WHAT'S MORE: Cacereno head coach Julio Cobos later issued a response to Ancelotti as he dismissed his complaints as "excuses".

"I think that it is football... Besides, Ancelotti is already older and has played in much worse fields than these," Cobos said to Cadena SER. "I was surprised that Ancelotti said this. I believe that when a field is bad, the teams that have more technical players need three touches and they need one to control the ball, so... these are excuses."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Eden Hazard was handed a rare start by the coach after stressing his importance for the team in recent weeks. But the Belgian failed to live up to expectations as he recorded fewer touches than goalkeeper Andriy Lunin in the first half, before eventually being substituted for youngster Alvaro Rodriguez in the 68th minute. Yet Ancelotti refused to criticise him and once again pointed towards the 'circumstances'.

"He did his job during his time on the pitch, but it’s hard to analyse individual players given these circumstances," the Italian reasoned.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR REAL MADRID? Los Blancos return to action in la Liga when they visit Villarreal on January 7.