Míchel: “It was all or nothing and they painted our faces” | Soccer | Sports

Madrid went into the key meeting against Girona with two centre-backs who, between them, had only played four games in the position. Tchouameni, two and a half matches. And Carvajal, a year and a half. “We broke the world record with four injured central defenders. “I couldn’t be more worried than today,” admitted Carlo Ancelotti after the 4-0, happy with his team’s “best match” this season, “a hard blow for the League”. “A humble game,” said the Italian.


Andriy Lunin, Lucas Vázquez, Ferland Mendy (Fran Garcia, min. 77), Aurélien Tchouameni, Dani Carvajal, Federico Valverde, Jude Bellingham (Brahim Diaz, min. 57), Camavinga, Kroos (Modric, min. 70), Vinicius Junior (Arda Guler, minute 77) and Rodrygo (Joselu, minute 70)


Gazzaniga, Eric Garcia, Juanpe, Yan Couto, Miguel Gutierrez, Tsygankov (Valery Fernández, min. 70), Aleix García, Portu (Pablo Torre, min. 45), Iván Martín (Jhon Solís, min. 70), Sávio and Dovbyk (Stuani, min. 70)

Goals 1-0 minutes. 5: Vinicius Junior. 2-0 minutes. 35: Jude Bellingham. 3-0 minutes. 53: Jude Bellingham. 4-0 minutes. 60: Rodrygo.

Arbitrator Juan Martinez Munuera

Yellow cards Juanpe (min. 21), Yan Couto (min. 67) and Ferland Mendy (min. 76)

Míchel, however, oscillated between going down to earth and a dose of sack. “They painted our faces,” he admitted. “The maximum responsibility belongs to me because I asked the players for high pressure, pressure after the defeat… I exposed them, but it was the time to do it, we had nothing to lose. We could have planned a match to win, defending in a low block, with three central defenders, but we had nothing to lose. It was all or nothing,” explained the Girona coach, who does not believe it will hurt them and hopes it will show them growth.

“We tried to play one against one, but when Madrid are at a high level, we don’t succeed. They were much superior in the duels. The play of Vinicius, Camavinga… We are not at that “that level. It makes you see your reality and everything we have done. Our League is not that. We are missing one or two steps to reach the level of Madrid, which was very high”, explained the Vallecas coach.

Madrid’s best night this season, however, added another cause for concern: Jude Bellingham’s left ankle. Ancelotti said he suffered from a sprain and that his presence on Tuesday in Leipzig, in the round of 16 first leg of the Champions League, is very uncertain. In the morning, Rüdiger fell due to a muscle injury in his left thigh following the blow he received in Getafe 10 days ago.

“The absolute emergency ends today,” Carlo Ancelotti said a week before, when he assumed he would get the German back. But no. The German, far from being ready, will remain absent for around two more weeks. For Europe, he hopes to recover Nacho, absent this Saturday due to overload. Without a healthy central defender after the club quickly decided not to go to the winter market despite only having two for four months, against Girona, a full-back and a pivot, who had never coincided in this demarcation, came to help. They left the Bernabéu, yes, without a scratch. No shots on goal for Girona and Artem Dovbyk, author of 14 goals in La Liga, barely made the meager figure of 10 interventions in the 74 minutes he played.

The precariousness of the troops in the rear supported a typical Carletto plan in these scenarios. High pressure if possible, even man to man. Otherwise, be patient and compact to refuse spaces in Girona. The 1-0 on almost nothing from Vinicius validated the plan and no one then benefited more from this draw than him, with meadows to run and strike. “He played a high-level match,” defined Ancelotti, who, “with this attitude,” placed him “as the best in the world.” Second to the altar, after being questioned later, would be Bellingham.

This season, injuries have deprived Vinicius of the continuity he always had (he suffered the first two muscle problems in Spain), but he has not wasted any time. Especially since 2024 entered: six goals in eight games. He was decisive in the Super Cup final (treble) and this Saturday against Girona. The 1-0 invention in a counterfeint that had announced nothing until he released a distorted whip from 25 yards.

And from frankness to subtlety. The score was 2-0 and 3-0 with two subtle actions: first with a magnificent outside pass, postmarked by Modric, into space for Bellingham then a dance on the backline in front of Yan Couto, prelude to the melee. pleasure of the Englishman, who returned to the game after eight matches with only one penalty scored (against Almería) and has already scored 20 in all competitions. It was farewell and closure for the former Dortmund player, who left with a very painful left ankle (it was already bandaged) due to two sprains.

JB’s afternoon session ended there, but not that of Vinicius, who was bursting with attack and who was also seen running backwards and going down in the mud like rarely before. He confronted and mocked Couto, and pursued his compatriot along the shore, one of the great threats of the visitors who suffered torture. “It’s good for him. He’ll get over it. I am also in the improvement phase,” concluded Míchel.

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