Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has shrugged off concerns about his attacking set-up after watching his forwards draw a blank against Barcelona.

Ancelotti’s side failed to register a single shot on target at home for the first time since 2010 in a 1-0 Copa del Rey semi-final first leg defeat to their rivals at the Bernabeu.

Vinicius Junior was successfully shackled by Ronald Araujo during the match, while Karim Benzema — still Real’s joint-top scorer this season with 18 goals in all competitions — faded in the contest and continues to struggle for consistency.

Real, who started the weekend seven points behind Xavi’s Barcelona in La Liga, head to Real Betis on Sunday looking for a boost, but Ancelotti defended both players, as well as his tactics.

“I watched the game again and I’m sticking with what I said after the game. We have to improve things, but most of the things we did well,” Ancelotti said.

“I’m not worried (about Vinicius Jr). He’s focused on what he has to do, he’s had more difficulty because he’s been marked very well. The important thing is that he doesn’t lose his desire.

“Karim doesn’t worry me, because I see him in good shape, in good physical condition; of course, better than in the first part of the season.”

Ancelotti brought on Rodrygo in the 67th minute as he tried to give his team a cutting edge, before giving youth player Alvaro Rodriguez a cameo late on.

The Italian insisted he “did not want to change the characteristics of his attack,” but then admitted he would consider deploying Rodriguez alongside Benzema.

“I want Karim Benzema, who improves us and that’s why we are the team that has scored the most in La Liga,” Ancelotti said.

“We don’t want a tall striker, because we lose quality. You lose quality and it forces us to give more crosses.”

Pushed on whether Rodriguez and Benzema could play together, he said: “They could play together, you can change the system to 4-4-2. It’s something that can happen.

“Alvaro has quality. It’s okay if he’s young. He is progressing and doing well.”

Ancelotti revealed no fresh injury concerns and confirmed that defender Ferland Mendy could be back next week after injury.


Real Madrid have night to forget in Clasico defined by ugly moments

(Photo: Getty Images)


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