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Ancelotti wants balance to Bale, Ronaldo brilliance

Updated 01 Nov 2013 09:10:49

Ancelotti wants balance to Bale, Ronaldo brilliance

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti will be looking for more of the same from his star-studded front line when his team travel across town to face Rayo Vallecano in La Liga on Saturday.

The Italian lauded the offensive explosion of his front three of Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema as they combined to smash seven goals past Sevilla on Wednesday.

Ronaldo bagged his 22nd Madrid hat-trick, whilst Bale and Benzema scored twice and had two assists as both men produced easily their best performance of the season so far.

However, Ancelotti was less enamoured with his side's defending as Real conceded twice in quick succession before half-time and, after losing a third goal to a sweet strike from Ivan Rakitic, also saw the Croat miss a second-half penalty before eventually running out 7-3 winners.

"It was a bit of a crazy game and we scored a lot of goals," said Ancelotti.

"But we lacked a bit of balance because when you are leading 3-0 you have to be more careful to avoid problems.

"We had a lot of great individual performances, particularly up front. I think the three there have played very well and tried to pressure very high up. We lacked balance because we didn't press as well in midfield and we had problems on the wings.

"We need to look for that balance with the other seven players because I want those three to keep pressing high."

There should be plenty of opportunities for Bale, Ronaldo and Benzema to rack up their goal tally again on Saturday when they face the worst defence in any of Europe's major leagues.

Rayo have conceded 27 goals in their 11 league games to date and, after an eighth defeat of the season at Osasuna on Wednesday, coach Paco Jemez said his side "looked like a team of kids in an adult league."

Ancelotti has a fully fit squad to choose from for the short journey to Vallecas and he hinted that Xabi Alonso could start after making his first appearance of the season for the final 25 minutes against Sevilla.

"I am very happy. Now I don't have any problems and I expect to improve bit by bit by competing and being useful for the team," Alonso said.

"I have the feeling that the team is already formed, although there are things to polish up on, but the season is very long.

"We are reinforcing what we are doing well and correcting what we can do better, we expect to get to where we want to this season."

Sergio Ramos will also be available despite picking up his fifth booking of the season in midweek as his ban will not be enforced until next weekend.

Madrid could be nine points behind Barcelona by the time they kick-off on Saturday though as Barca have the chance to continue their storming start to the season when they host Espanyol at home in the Catalan derby on Friday.

Following their victory over Real in El Clasico last weekend, Barca have now won every league game at the Camp Nou for the past year and will be able to welcome back a host of star names, including Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Neymar after they were rested from the 3-0 win against Celta Vigo in midweek.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid, who lead Real by five points in second place, are in action on Sunday when they host high-flying Athletic Bilbao at the Vicente Calderon.

Diego Costa was once again on target to move one goal ahead of Ronaldo as La Liga's top scorer as Atleti continued their pursuit of Barca with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Granada on Thursday.

Fixtures (all times GMT)

Friday:

Barcelona v Espanyol (2000)

Saturday:

Real Sociedad v Osasuna (1500), Almeria v Valladolid (1700), Rayo Vallecano v Real Madrid (1900), Sevilla v Celta Vigo (2100)

Sunday:

Getafe v Valencia (1100), Atletico Madrid v Athletic Bilbao (1600), Levante v Granada (1800), Malaga v Real Betis (2000)

Monday:

Elche v Villarreal (2100)


AFP

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