Real Madrid manager Ancelotti defends his players ahead of Deportivo clash
Madrid, Feb 14 (IANS) Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti refused to criticise his players after last weekend's 0-4 thrashing at the hands of rivals Atletico Madrid.
Right after the game Ancelotti had complained that Real Madrid had been "second best in everything". However, the next morning Spanish football fans were greeted with images of several players enjoying festivities at Cristiano Ronaldo's 30th birthday party which was held just hours after the painful defeat, reports Xinhua.
The photos and videos of several squad members, including James Rodriguez, Sami Khedira, Pepe and Marcelo, singing and dancing were most certainly not what Real Madrid fans wanted to see and club president Florentino Perez visited the club's training ground during the week to ask for explanations.
"As far as I'm concerned it's a non-issue. I've never judged players on their private lives and I'm not about to start today. They've always demonstrated their professionalism and they show great commitment when they pull on the shirt," insisted Ancelotti.
"Everyone was frustrated after the game and we've suffered that frustration for a week and I hope that motivates them. They have responded well in training and now we have to wait to see if there's a reaction."
Real Madrid had kicked-off the year on the back of a 22-game winning run but since the turn of 2015, they have lost three matches (twice to Atletico Madrid and in Valencia) while their performances in other games have not been convincing.
Ancelotti admitted his side's intensity dropped after winning the Club World Cup at the end of 2014 and confirmed that Asier Illaramendi would partner Tony Kroos in midfield for Saturday's game at home to Deportivo la Coruna.