23 October 2014 00:13
Carlo Ancelotti praised Real Madrid’s finest performance of the season after his team brushed aside Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League.
Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring with a fine 23rd-minute strike from James Rodriguez’s exquisite chipped pass, while a brace from Karim Benzema ensured a 3-0 Group B win, with all the goals coming before half-time at Anfield.
Ancelotti also paid tribute to the control his defending European champions displayed after the break, as Real head into Saturday’s El Clasico against Barcelona in fine fettle.
Asked whether Wednesday night’s showing was Real’s best of the campaign, the Italian told Sky Sports: “I think so, also because of the difficulty of the opposing team.
“In the first half we were fantastic and then in the second half we had good control of the game and the result.
“It is difficult to say [what pleased me most]. I don’t have to say anything to the players because they played really well, with confidence.
“We did really well in the first 20 minutes when Liverpool started with intensity. We had good control and defended well.
“After the first 20 minutes we started to play good football.
“We had to control the first 15 minutes of the second half and after that the game was over.”
Ancelotti was in charge of Milan when they famously let a 3-0 half-time lead slip against Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League final before losing a penalty shootout defeat in Istanbul.
“I forgot this,” he joked.
“I told the players that in football everything can happen.
“I know really well that these [Liverpool] supporters stay close to the team. I told my players to stay focused in the second half.”
It was a landmark night at Anfield for Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who went level with Barcelona midfielder Xavi in making 143 appearances in the Champions League – a competition record.
Casillas told UEFA.com: “When I made my debut on September 15, 1999, I never thought that I would get to even be the second or third player with most appearances, so I’m very happy with everything.”