Real Madrid manager Carlo Acelotti has singled out his side’s lack of urgency in the second-half of Friday night’s loss to neighbours Atletico Madrid as their undoing.
The Santiago Bernebeu outfit suffered a second consecutive Spanish La Liga defeat, going down 2-1 at home to the reigning champions and have now plummeted six points shy of Barcelona and four behind the ‘Los Roji Blancos’ after just three games of the new season.
The win also means coach Diego Simeone’s side have yet to be beaten by Real- the side they conceded the European championship trophy to in May- in the current campaign, having beaten them 2-1 on aggregate in the Spanish Super Cup last month.
The Italian boss insists his start-studded lineup need find a balance between attack and defence, as their frailties on set-pieces took only ten minutes to be exposed by the physically imposing visitors, when Tiago raced through to the near post to head home from Koke’s corner.
“As I have said many times, too many times, we need a balance with quality players,” Ancelotti said.
Cristiano Ronaldo, on his return from a hamstring problem, restored the deficit from the penalty spot after tumbling into the box under minimum contact from Guilherme Siquiera.
Ronaldo followed that up with two great assists, the second of which drew a superb save from goalkeeper Miguel Moya.
The hosts lacked firepower after the break, as the Portuguese forward, though not fully fit, faded; while the introduction of Arda Turan and Antoine Griezmann revived Atleti’s game and they won it 13 minutes from time when Turan swept the ball into the far corner from the edge of the box.
“The first-half was good like at Anoeta (Real Sociedad before the international break) and the second-half wasn’t,” Ancelotti noted. “We played with intensity and aggression in the first-half which is what you have to do to beat Atletico, but we didn’t do that in the second-half.
“I think the mistake for the first goal cost us the game because we used so much energy to level we paid for it in the second-half.”
The 53-year-old dismissed the notion that his favoured 4-3-3 system was to blame, having deployed Germany World Cup winner Toni Kroos as a holding midfielder.
He said: “We don’t have a problem with this system. We know the system very well, we had a problem with intensity in the second-half today in the way we had a problem with attitude at Anoeta. I have a lot of experience. This isn’t the problem. As.”