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Carlo Ancelotti believes Eden Hazard will regain his best form shortly after Real Madrid fought past Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey.
Hazard only started his ninth game in 2021-22 in Wednesday’s 3-1 win over the third team, which famously beat Madrid in this competition a year ago.
Dani Vegas’ excellent run and finish canceled Eder Militao’s opener for Madrid, who were without several first-team players, including Thibaut Courtois, David Alaba, Dani Carvajal, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema.
Substitute Marco Asensio and Isco eventually secured a hard-fought victory, the former scoring via a deflected effort after Hazard’s break before Isco deflected the ball in by goalkeeper Jose Juan.
Hazard, Rodrygo and Mariano Diaz struggled to combine effectively in the Madrid attack, even though the Belgian national team player ended the match with four chances created, at least twice as many as any other player.
Ancelotti felt the game was ill-suited to creative players, but remains convinced that Hazard could become a key player for Los Blancos despite two and a half years in Spain.
1 – With his 42 years and 5 days, Alcoyanos Juan José Figueiras has become the oldest player to score an own goal in a match against Real Madrid in all tournaments in the last decade. Accident. pic.twitter.com/xKdz0wTV79
– OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 5, 2022
“Quality players suffered more than the others,” said Ancelotti. “He tried, then as number nine, just like Isco, who scored when he came on the field, and I love him.
“Hazard, Rodrygo and these players with more quality suffered more than others.
“He needs to have more confidence in a-v-one, dribbling, shooting, because he has the quality to do it.
“His physical condition is better than a few months ago and hopefully we will soon see him back at his best level.”
Ancelotti praised his players for surviving a match in El Collao against a team that eliminated LaLiga fighter Levante on penalties in the final round after a 3-3 draw.
“We played the match we were supposed to,” he said.
“Of course we suffered [at 1-1]. They equalized the game through a really good individual action, one of quality.
Afterwards, we did not lose our heads and we kept playing the game. We could not play another match – this is the one we had prepared.
“We finished them today. It’s not our type of game because it’s not possible to deliver quality in these types of games.
“We stood up against a team that usually plays with quality, and today they put it aside and they fought. That was what they had to do. I repeat: if you do not fight here, you lose, as we did. last year.”