Carlo Ancelotti was snapped up by Real Madrid to bring a new era to the legendary club, but what is he up against?
Obviously with any new manager, this is always the question that is first asked. However, this is an important question when taking the hot-seat at Real Madrid - a club which supposedly has success written in its DNA.
Jose Mourinho's tenure was surely an eye-opener, but as much as the Spaniards hate to admit it, he was rather successful there during his three seasons.
So far, Ancelotti has a lot of learning to do if he is to bring a free-flowing attacking style to Madrid, instead of Mourinho's otherwise counter-attacking pragmatic methods.
These methods, although criticised, actually put Barcelona behind Jose's Madrid and their league and cup form favours that (Mourinho didn't lose to Barca in the past six games in both those competitions).
He came a long way from the man and tactician who lost 5-0 to Barcelona at the Camp Nou in November 2010. That Mourinho had an untouchable reputation, the 'man to beat' if you like, who entered the world of Pep Guardiola and little did he know that he would be a bigger threat than first anticipated.
Mourinho played an offside trap (horrendous plan to everyone that knows Barcelona now) and the resultant loss inflicted his greatest managerial defeat. This game contrasts greatly to his last Clasico, swarmed with tactics he'd learnt the hard during his time at Madrid and his plans were so effective, a weakened Real side beat Barcelona 2-1, with goals from Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos.
In a sense, Ancelotti really can't get off to a worse start (especially in the Clasico) than Mourinho did, but it is going to be how Ancelotti adapts his own tactics during his time at Madrid which will see him as a success or not.
Losing 1-0 at home to Atletico is a horrendous way to convince the supporters, and the manor of the defeat is what is most worrying. Real created very little, but did create chances that should have been taken.
Atletico defended (very much like Mourinho's men did against Barcelona) and suffocated Real, ensuring they were clinical when they had the chance. He tried to employ a 4-4-2 style, playing Ronaldo as a number 9, but anyone who knows anything about Ronaldo, he doesn't want to be a number 9.
He has scored more goals than games at Real by playing either on the left or right and just free roaming - so why change that? Also, why play Isco as a left-midfielder against your rivals? Isco has had a tremendous start to his life at Madrid playing the Ozil role, but Ancelotti changed a winning formula.
My last question: can Real Madrid be the dominant attacking side that so many fans want?
The answer, I believe, is no. Even if they could, there is no need to change the Real Madrid style they had been playing under Mourinho. Ancelotti at times has resorted back to this counter attacking direct play left for him and it has come off brilliantly (Galatasaray 6-1, Ronaldo playing left-wing scoring three and Isco playing as an attacking midfielder scoring also).
The last point to be made on this situation is the bright, exciting future star Alvaro Morata and Benzema's fight for the striker role. With no more Higuain, Benzema doesn't seem to be benefiting from this fear of losing his place in the team, yet every game Morata has played so far, he has shown more desire, skill and quality than Benzema.
He has the hunger which Benzema seems to have lost and given the chance, Morata could be the answer Real Madrid need for this attacking style they desire.
He closes down from the front, enabling a high press, he holds up the play and also runs at defenders, not to mention his height and speed which reminds me of a speedier version of Fernando Morientes (and I'm not the only one).
This, as well as the fans jeering Benzema and always chanting 'Morata! Morata!' when he's on or off the field is so much more of a confidence boost for the youngster. Should Ancelotti gamble?
A lot of work is needed to be done by Ancelotti and his biggest decision will be: attacking or counter-attacking football?
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