Ancelotti: I was surprised to see Barcelona lose

Despite the 2-0 win over Elche extending Real Madrid’s lead at the top to four points, the coach insists he is not writing off Luis Enrique’s side in the title race

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has admitted that he was shocked by Barcelona’s 1-0 loss at home to Malaga but still expects the Liga title race to continue until the last day of the season.

The Catalans had been on an 11-game winning streak in all competitions before succumbing to an early goal from Juanmi at Camp Nou on Saturday.

Madrid then triumphed 2-0 at Elche 24 hours later – courtesy of goals from Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo – to pull four points clear of Barca, much to the delight of Ancelotti.

“It was an important game after what happened to our rivals on Saturday and above all to take a bigger lead over Barcelona,” the Italian told reporters.

“It is clear that their defeat surprised everyone, as Barca had been in very good form, playing very well.

“We do have a lead now, but as I have said many times this title will be decided on the last day of the season.”

Madrid were rocked by a 4-0 derby defeat at Atletico on February 7 but have since responded with three consecutive 2-0 wins in all competetions.

Ancelott was thus particularly pleased to see his players keep their clean sheet record going at Elche, in what was his 100th game in charge of the club.

“These 100 games with Real Madrid have gone well,” the former Chelsea boss added.

“But I hope to improve in the next 100 and with the attitude of this game we will win many more. We have been focused and everyone has worked very well. 

“After Atletico we have improved on our defensive work. Elche’s players have got great quality, but we have not allowed them to prove it. I had no doubts that we would win this game.”

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