Carlo Ancelotti’s mistakes at Real Madrid are finally catching up to him

Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Despite the team’s positive performances this season, there is still something Real Madrid fans have been critical of Carlo Ancelotti and that is his unwillingness to rotate. He persistently plays with the same team, which includes an aging midfield of Modric, Casemiro, and Kroos, his changes have become predictable, and he continues to neglect the importance of a traditional striker in vital moments.

This is something opposing teams have taken notice of as they have become more defensively structured and complicated to break down due to the lack of a traditional striker not being able to distract defenders and liberating spaces. In fact, there have been several occasions during the season that Real Madrid were only able to initiate the scoring through long-range efforts or a moment of team brilliance that would eventually see them get those victories.

The lack of rotation is even more confusing taking into consideration the team’s abundance of aging players and is beginning to have its effects with increased injuries and declining performances. Several players, such as Modric, Benzema, and Kroos have struggled with injuries during the season. Carvajal has been inconsistent and continues to be injury-prone, and Casemiro’s performances have been subpar. He is not the same player of previous seasons. Something that is a complete contrast to the beginning of the season when he would constantly make changes and used the entire team to its benefit.

Another issue with Ancelotti is that he continues to rely on players such as Carvajal and Asensio, and has failed to take full advantage of some quality players at his disposal on the bench, such as Eden Hazard. While Carvajal’s quality is indisputable, he has continuously struggled the past couple of seasons and is becoming more of a liability, especially when it comes to the important occasions.

Carlo Ancelotti is not adjusting appropriately to big opponents

Although he does not have a natural replacement, Lucas Vazquez and Nacho are showing they are more reliable, as seen against PSG where Carvajal needed to be substituted in both encounters. In regards to Asensio, he has improved under Ancelotti, but is still not anywhere near the player who came onto the scene.

Additionally, he has been inconsistent in big moments and does not provide much defensive support. Meanwhile, Ancelotti continues to leave Hazard on the bench and barely gives him any appearances. Even though his performances have not been what was expected since being with the team, it is difficult for Hazard to regain or even be in decent form if he is not playing regularly.

Another issue is that Ancelotti does not protect the important players in the lead-up to big matches. In the game against Mallorca, prior to the El Clasico, he played with the traditional starting team against a physical side that is fighting relegation. Despite the victory, Mendy and Benzema both pick up injuries and missed the Clasico.

Casemiro was also at risk of missing it with card accumulation, yet Ancelotti still started him and came very close to getting himself suspended. Casemiro went through something similar against PSG when he had been under threat of suspension since matchday four and could have ‘accidentally’ forced a card to be suspended for the final group game against Inter Milan with the team already qualified. However, Ancelotti did not allow it and would be carded in the Parc des Princes; missing the return leg against PSG.

What is even more concerning about Ancelotti is his lack of adjustment to oppositions. In the Clasico, he played Modric in Benzema’s position and Kroos in a higher position with both of them in charge of the high press. This approach left Casemiro completely exposed in midfield. He also did not provide any assistance for Nacho as he was completely tormented and torn apart. Against PSG, his lineup in the return leg included Kroos struggling with injury; Carvajal, who continues to be a shell of his former self (and a big liability); and a defensively unsupportive Asensio.

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As we saw, the team struggled to keep control of the midfield and PSG’s scoring came through the side that was supposed to be defended by Carvajal, but was not in position and lacked any support from Asensio.

Despite getting his changes spot on and seeing an incredible performance, all this is affecting the team and could dent the possibilities of succeeding in multiple competitions this season if Ancelotti does not make the necessary adjustments to assure Real Madrid is in proper condition.