Despite arriving with a very weak squad, Barcelona managed to beat Real Madrid on Thursday in the first Clasico as part of the Copa del Rey semi-finals and took another step on the way to an exciting double after difficult years.
According to reports in Spain, Real's board were disappointed with coach Carlo Ancelotti's tactics with some senior club officials criticizing the manager's lack of a plan B, sources said, after a performance in which Madrid dominated the Bernabeu but failed to kick a single shot on target. The Catalans.
Real tend to rely on Vinicius Jnr to unlock opponents' defences, but the winger has been silenced in the game by Ronald Araujo and in days when Karim Benzema is also not at his best, Real have looked lost.
Sources in Spain said Ancelotti's decision to start with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in the starting lineup was a mistake.
Kroos and Modric have been in inconsistent form this season and there is now an internal debate at the club over whether Real can afford to start with both of them, with Orléans Tshumani, Eduardo Camabinga, Federico Valverde and Dani Sabaios available as younger options.
Doubts are starting to rise, photo: Reuters
A source close to the dressing room told ESPN that a number of players are in the sights of the management following their recent performances, including Nacho, Dani Carvajal and more, when it is clear that the two Clasico games that are expected later - one in the league on March 19 and the other in the semi-final The final of the King's Cup on 5.4, will be critical for their continuation in the club next season, when in the summer it seems that Floretino Peres will have to make a mini revolution.
Ancelotti himself has faced speculation about his future in recent weeks, after it was reported in Brazil that the Italian was open to hearing about being appointed coach of the national team this summer after they failed at the World Cup in Qatar.
If Real see arch-rivals Barcelona win the double, Ancelotti is very likely to be sacked, despite having a contract until the summer of 2024.
Shocked to hear that Carlo Ancelotti is under a bit of pressure at Real Madrid & could leave, I personally would love Carlo Ancelotti back at Chelsea, he would be able to get the best out of our current team.
— Frank Khalid OBE (@FrankKhalidUK) March 4, 2023
In the meantime, ahead of the match against Betis (Sunday, 10:00 p.m., channel ONE), he sounds optimistic.
"I will stay as long as the club wants. I love Madrid, the food, the football and the city."
Regardless, he is expected to make several changes to the 11 against the Andalusians in order to close the gap on Barcelona who will host Valencia for an intriguing encounter at the Camp Nou.
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