After seeing his team secure a marvellous 2-1 comeback win over Barcelona in the Clásico at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the press. Asked about the ceiling for his matchwinner Jude Bellingham, Ancelotti was clear: “He can easily reach 20-25 goals, because he has started very well. We don’t consider him a goalscorer, but at the moment he is scoring a lot of goals. But we also expect a lot from the strikers.”

Ancelotti on Bellingham’s refusal to celebrate his first goal

When asked why the Englishman didn’t celebrate his first goal much, Ancelotti explained that it reflected his approach towards the game. He said: “He looks like a veteran, because of his attitude. The goal was to win, not to draw. And he knew that goal would change the dynamic completely.”

Ancelotti on Bellingham’s Ballon d’Or chances

In one humorous moment, Ancelotti was asked where he thinks Bellingham will rank in the Ballon d’Or when it is announced on Monday. Ancelotti responded: “He is a player who makes a huge difference, I don’t know what position he will be in, nor did I know that the Ballon d’Or was awarded on Monday!”

Ancelotti on Bellingham’s form

With 13 goals to his name already, Ancelotti was asked if he had been shocked by Bellingham’s form. He admitted: “We’re all surprised! Especially his shot from outside the box today, because he doesn’t usually shoot.”

Ancelotti on moving Bellingham forward

There was a tactical tweak in the game to move Bellingham into a more advanced position and Ancelotti was quizzed about the thinking behind it. He responded: “My job is to get the most out of everyone and, as his best quality was getting into the box, he fit in there. We just need to polish up his defensive organisation.”

Ancelotti on his initial set-up

Ancelotti also offered some insight into his tactical approach heading into the game. He revealed: “The approach was with Vinicius on the inside and Bellingham, pressing the fullback. But they changed and, to prevent Kroos going for Gavi and leaving space between the lines, I asked Jude to cover that gap. We had some problems pressing Iñigo Martínez, because we were a bit afraid to go and we didn’t always jump. And with the ball, we were very slow. We lost a lot of time with back passes.”

Ancelotti on his half-time team talk

When questioned what was said at half-time, the coach did not go into great depth but did cover the basics of what was said in the dressing room. He confessed: “I told them that if we had to lose, it couldn’t be like that, we had to be more aggressive.”

Ancelotti on Camavinga’s role off the bench

The coach was asked which moment was the one which changed the game to turn it around, with the journalist pointing to the change of Ferland Mendy for Eduardo Camavinga. Ancelotti reflected: “We changed our attitude, that was the key. In the first half we were a sluggish, slow, unaggressive team… and in the second half, just the opposite.”

Ancelotti on Modrić’s impact

Camavinga was not the only player to influence the game, and the coach also pointed to Croatian veteran Luka Modrić as he said: “Luka changed the dynamic, because with him we had more ball control and Barça took a step back in pressing. Afterwards, Jude was very effective. He scored the first goal and was astute in the second.”

Ancelotti on the first half

Asked what went wrong in the first 45 minutes, Ancelotti did not shy away from the poor display his team had produced. He said: “Sometimes you don’t play the way you want to play. And in the first half we were not at our level. It was one to forget. Fortunately, the second half was different and we were able to win.”

Ancelotti on the importance of the win

Having played down the importance of the fixture, Ancelotti continued that topic though he did point to the difficulty of the fixture as an important point to remember. He said: “It’s only three points, but you feel you win a very difficult game. We come from several: Atleti, Bilbao, Sevilla… we are coming off a very demanding schedule and we are leaders. The season is very long and we will have to fight until the end.”

Ancelotti on Vinícius Júnior

It was a frustrating afternoon for one man in white, Vinícius. The Brazilian had another tough battle against Ronald Araújo, and Ancelotti reflected on it saying: “Araújo is a great defender and I told him to stop when the referee blows the whistle. If not, let him continue. He was a very dangerous player, who tried harder in the second half.”

Ancelotti on Gil Manzano’s refereeing

Finally, after much talk in the build-up, Ancelotti was asked about referee Jesús Gil Manzano. On his display, Ancelotti said: “If you don’t talk about him, it means he has done well. He is one of the best rated in Europe, as I said, and he has been very good. Calm. It was an intense match, but we all showed fair play. And that’s the way matches should be. You can win or lose, but the game must go on.”

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