Champions League

Ancelotti lauds players

2014-11-27 11:14
Carlo Ancelotti (File)

Madrid - Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti gave all the credit to his players after the Champions League holders matched the club record for consecutive victories of 15 on Wednesday.

The 1-0 win at FC Basel, a fifth straight success in Group B thanks to a first-half Cristiano Ronaldo strike, was hardly their most impressive of the season but equalled Real's best run of victories achieved in both 1960-61 and 2011-12.

Real had already qualified for the knockout round and beating the Swiss side made sure of top spot, which means they will avoid fellow group winners when the draw for the last 16 is made next month.

Ancelotti, who led Real to a record-extending 10th European crown in his first season in charge in 2013-14, told a news conference that it was the latest chapter in the storied club's history.

"Anything we can do that writes us a page in the history of this fantastic club is good," said the Italian, who won the Champions League with AC Milan as both player and coach.

"The credit goes to the players, who are playing a fantastic phase of the season."

Real have won all their matches since September's 2-1 La Liga home defeat to Atletico Madrid, scoring 57 goals and conceding just 10.

Their next outing is at Malaga on Saturday, when Ancelotti's side can claim the outright record.

Ancelotti received some mild criticism for the somewhat lethargic way Real played in Basel but praised his troops for mucking in to help in defence when they came under pressure.

"We didn't play at our normal level because we were slower than usual," Ancelotti said.

"But after the goal we controlled the game well and made sacrifices to keep the defence tight.

"We suffered a bit more in the second half when the opponent played with a lot of intensity.

"At this stage of the season it's normal that you are not always on top form but we won relatively comfortably and that is a positive."


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