Real Madrid's Ancelotti defends Bale, Benzema

AFP, Thursday 24 Oct 2013

Real Madrid coach backs Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale after 2-1 win over Juventus

Gareth Bale
Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale (Photo: AP)

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti insisted he was happy with the performances of Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema in his side's 2-1 win over Juventus, despite both looking far from their best.

Bale replaced Benzema with 25 minutes to go on Wednesday after the Frenchman had missed an incredible chance to make it 3-1 to the hosts.

However, Ancelotti lauded Benzema's defensive contribution and blamed Bale's lack of an impact on the lack of intensity his team in general showed in the second half.

"I want to say something about Benzema. I asked him to help the team a lot defensively in tracking (Andrea) Pirlo," he said.

"With three central midfielders, Pirlo is hard for our midfielders to get up to press.

"Benzema didn't score, but he worked very well for the team and I am satisfied with his performance.

"Bale came on when the game lacked intensity and that didn't help him to play better.

"His physical condition is better and he is now ready to start a game."

Despite moving to the brink of qualification with their third win in three Champions League games, Ancelotti admitted his frustration with Real's display after the break as they played the majority of the half against 10 men.

Two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo either side of Fernando Llorente's equaliser had put the hosts in command at the break.

And their stranglehold on the game was strengthened when Giorgio Chiellini was harshly shown a straight red card for a foul on Ronaldo just three minutes after the restart.

However, Madrid failed to press home their man advantage and were left hanging on towards the end as Juve pushed in search of a point.

"I liked the attitude of the team and how we played in spells.

"I didn't like how we ended the game though. We needed to have more intensity.

"We didn't need to go and score more goals, but we should have had more control."

Juve boss Antonio Conte, meanwhile, was less than pleased with the performance of German referee Manuel Graefe.

"It is obvious the game was conditioned by some of the referee's decisions," he said.

"We were playing against a great side, but we also had little help this evening."

The defeat leaves the Italian champions in some difficulty as regards qualifying for the last 16 with just two points from their opening three games.

Galatasaray now lead Juventus by two points and the Turkish champions will host Conte's men in the final game in the group.

However, Conte believes his side showed enough quality over the 90 minutes at the Bernabeu to suggest they will still make it through.

"Now we have a difficult Champions League in front of us.

"Today with 10 players we showed great physical and tactical energy.

"It will be tough, but we still depend on ourselves."

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