Copa exit will aid Champions League push, says Ancelotti
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti lamented his side's mistakes in their Copa del Rey exit at the hands of Atletico Madrid, but feels it may prove a blessing as they aim to retain the UEFA Champions League title.
Ancelotti's men were knocked out by their fierce local rivals 4-2 on aggregate following a 2-2 draw in the second leg at The Santiago Bernabeu.
Fernando Torres' opening-minute strike furthered Atletico's advantage and his second a minute after half-time, which followed a Sergio Ramos equaliser, effectively settled the tie despite Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo's header nine minutes later.
While elimination serves as a major disappointment for Real, Ancelotti is thankful for the extra preparation time ahead of their Champions League last-16 tie with Schalke next month.
"We must assess this game and the mistakes we made. The first 60 minutes we had a great time," Ancelotti said in quotes reported by AS.
"I'm happy with how we played in the first half. We played very well. We now have three weeks to prepare for the Champions League and surely that is good for the team.
"We made mistakes we usually don't, especially in bringing the ball out of defence. I didn't think we would make those mistakes.
"I thought we could come back still after the first goal because we played very well.
"We reacted well. When it was 1-1 I thought it was going to be difficult.
"It's hard to play through the middle against Atletico. There's more space wide. The pass inside is tricky."