Carlo Ancelotti intends to continue rotating his Real Madrid side across their remaining LaLiga matches with all focus on the Champions League final against Liverpool.
Madrid were beaten 1-0 by fierce rivals Atletico Madrid in Sunday’s El Derbi after making seven changes from their dramatic midweek European win against Manchester City.
While the likes of Luka Modric and Vinicius Junior were brought on at the second half, Karim Benzema and Thibaut Courtois remained on the bench at Wanda Metropolitano.
Los Blancos have already sealed the title and can afford to chop and change with three more LaLiga outings to come before their May 28 showdown with Liverpool.
Ancelotti’s side host Levante on Thursday and round off their domestic campaign with games against Cadiz and Real Betis.
Asked if he will continue to make changes to his side, the Italian coach told Movistar: “Yeah. Those who played less today will now play on Thursday.
“But the team that plays against Betis will more or less be the team that will play the [Champions League] final. The aim is to reach the final with everyone available.
“We still expect to compete, play with a high intensity and good rhythm. In the second half today the rhythm was good.”
Madrid’s defeat was their first against neighbours Atletico in 12 matches in all competitions in a run stretching back to 2018.
The visitors fired in 15 shots against Atleti, six of which were on target – only against Cadiz have they tested the keeper more times in LaLiga this term without scoring (nine).
Yannick Carrasco’s penalty shortly before half-time proved the difference for Atleti, who ended the game with an expected goals (xG) value of 2.33 compared to 1.26 for Madrid.
“It was a good, competitive match,” Ancelotti added. “We played much better in the second half and couldn’t have asked for more in a match that comes after an exciting week.
“I didn’t really expect any more from my side.”
Atletico’s penalty was awarded two minutes after Jesus Vallejo felled Matheus Cunha in the box, with VAR instructing referee Cesar Soto Grado to check the pitchside monitor.
That was the first spot-kick Los Rojiblancos have scored against Madrid in LaLiga since Diego Forlan converted from 12 yards in March 2010.
Ancelotti was surprisingly not asked about the contentious incident and joked “aren’t we talking about the penalty” as he exited his post-match news conference.
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