Carlo Ancelotti claims 'strange' Barcelona didn't deserve to beat Real Madrid
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Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti argued Barcelona didn't deserve to beat his side in an ill-tempered El Clasico on Thursday night.
Real Madrid and Barcelona don't get on at the best of times and Thursday's clash in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final was no different.
Barcelona edged out a 1-0 win at the Bernabeu in what was a tetchy affair devoid of the quality usually associated with this classic fixture.
Franck Kessie's first-half effort - which went down as an own goal thanks to a double deflection off Eder Militao and Nacho Fernandez - was the only shot on target of the entire match. Not since 2010 had Los Blancos failed to register a shot on target at home.
It was Real Madrid who dominated possession and looked the more likely to score as the game wore on, but Barcelona - who have conceded just eight goals in 23 league games this season - held firm.
Speaking after the match, Madrid boss Ancelotti could not hide his feelings.
"It's been a bit strange to see them [Barcelona] play like this," he said.
"But they have been very solid, they have a collective commitment and they have closed all the lines very well. Having to attack them with crosses is not the best thing to do, as I said before. And they have led us to that."
When asked whether Barca were deserved winners, the Italian was clear.
"No, it's pretty obvious," he claimed. "There have hardly been any occasions. I think it's been one of our best games defensively all season."
Although defeat to Manchester United last week ended Barcelona's European ambitions for the season, there is no denying the impressive work he has done since taking charge.
Barca sit seven points clear of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga and will play in the cup final if they avoid defeat in the semi-final second leg next month.
However, the Spanish coach was not overly pleased with his side's performance.
"I'm happy for the work [done], [the] solidity in defence, [how] we minimised Real Madrid in their stadium," he said.
"The match was difficult. The victory is tremendous. [But] we weren't able to retain the ball, it was difficult for us to win duels in Madrid's half.
"We defended well without the ball. We fought well without the ball. People are supportive. I am satisfied, but we have to improve how we play with the ball; we cannot give dominance to the opposition. I'm satisfied with the result and not so much with the game.
"This is not the game we want. We want to create more scoring chances. There are times when the opponent can dominate you. The plan was different, to dominate in the opposition's half. To defend with the ball, but today we couldn't. "We weren't neat with the ball, but Madrid didn't have clear chances. It's a very important win for us."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Barcelona, Carlo Ancelotti, El Clasico, Real Madrid, Xavi, Copa Del Rey