Ancelotti: I'm sorry if Real Madrid fans didn't understand Isco substitution

The Santiago Bernabeu faithful reacted negatively to the coach’s decision to replace the attacking midfielder with Aiser Illarramendi in the draw with Villarreal

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has defended his decision to substitute Isco during Sunday’s disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Villarreal, explaining that it is not his problem if the club’s supporters did not understand the thinking behind the change.

After a strangely subdued first-half display, Los Blancos opened the scoring shortly after the break courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty, only to then see their visitors draw level in the 64th minute through Gerard Moreno.

Ancelotti responded to the equaliser by replacing Lucas Silva with Jese before then throwing Asier Illarramendi on in place of Isco.

The latter move was whistled by the Santiago Bernabeu faithful, who have been enthused by Isco’s recent form, but Ancelotti says it was the right call.

“The Isco change was to give more balance to the team,” he told reporters.

“I made the change because I thought it was the best for the team. If the fans do not understand it, sorry.”

Ancelotti also dismissed the suggestion that Madrid are suffering from fatigue and pointed out that despite the draw, they remain two points clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga.

“We were too slow in the first half,” the Blancos boss added. “Quite the opposite in the second. 

“If this is a physical issue, the pace would have been different.

“The team is improving, it is true that we have lost two points but we are two points ahead.”

Madrid next face a tricky trip to San Mames to take on Athletic Bilbao, while Barca must tackle Villarreal at El Madrigal.

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