Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has explained why he fielded a much-changed squad in the Madrid derby against Atletico Madrid on Sunday.
'We need to rest' - Ancelotti targets Liverpool Champions League final after Real Madrid derby loss at Atletico
Carlo Ancelotti played the Real Madrid Team B as the Los Blancos lost the Madrid derby for the first time since 2016
According to the Italian manager, he played a mix of key players and bit-part players because the squad needed to take a break with an eye on the upcoming UEFA Champions League final against Liverpool.
Real Madrid lost the match by a lone goal courtesy of a Yannick Carrasco 40th-minute penalty, the first time the Los Blancos would lose at the newly-built Wanda Metropolitano.
We need to prevent problems - Ancelotti
As reported by Real Madrid's official Twitter account, the league-winning manager stated that resting the players was important in a bid to avoid problems.
"We needed to rest players to prevent possible problems," Ancelotti simply explained.
This is perhaps in view of their upcoming Champions League final against Liverpool later this month on May 28 at the Stade de France.
Vazquez praises Real Madrid players for 'showing character'
Real Madrid player Lucas Vazquez stated that the team gave a good account of themselves against the last season's Champions at the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday night.
Vazquez told the Real Madrid official Twitter account: “The team stood up and showed character throughout."
Vazquez played the full 90 minutes for Real Madrid on Sunday night, starting only his 18th league match of the season as he filled in for Daniel Carvajal on the right side of the defence.
Simeone charges Atletico to land Champions League spot
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has stated that his team will not let up as they try to wrap up Champions League qualification for next season.
The Argentine tactician noted that the Rojiblancos have to get results out of their remaining three league matches this season.
Simeone told Marca: "We have nothing guaranteed, as there are points left to play for, and we have three difficult games to play. We have to repeat at Elche what we did today against Madrid.”
Atletico Madrid are currently fourth on the La Liga table with 64 points from 35 matches, six points ahead of fifth-placed Real Betis.
The Simeone-led side face Elche (A), Sevilla (H), and Real Sociedad (A) in the last three La Liga matches this season. They need only four points from their last three games to confirm qualification for the Champions League.