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Real Madrid earn coach’s praise after victory over Barcelona in ‘Clasico’

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RealMadrid coach Carlo Ancelotti praised his team’s professionalism and effort after they fought back from a goal down to beat Barcelona 3-1 in Saturday’s La Liga “Clasico” at the Bernabeu.

Neymar put Barca ahead in the fourth minute before Cristiano Ronaldo levelled for the in-form European champions, who appear to have put an early season wobble firmly behind them, with a penalty in the 35th.

Pepe headed Real in front from a corner five minutes into the second half and Karim Benzema finished off a swift break to make it 3-1 just after the hour.

Ancelotti, who led Real to a record-extending 10th European Cup title in his first season in charge last term, said the team’s effort had been outstanding as they followed up Wednesday’s 3-0 Champions League win at Liverpool with another victory.

“We didn’t lose our heads after going behind,” the Italian said. “We stuck to our ideas and everything came off well.

“I am proud of these players because their professionalism and seriousness is unique. I am talking about focus, thinking about what they are doing, following the strategy and instructions.

“We wanted to attack, with possession, using the wings. In the second half we won the game because we wanted to win it.”

Barca counterpart Luis Enrique, presiding over his first “Clasico” since taking over as coach at the end of last season, said Real were deserved winners and his side needed to work harder to iron out defensive errors.

He added he did not regret including Luis Suarez in his starting line-up despite the Uruguay forward not having played a competitive game since being banned for four months for biting an opponent at the World Cup.

Suarez was well marshalled by Real centre backs Sergio Ramos and Pepe and had a quiet game before being replaced by Pedro in the second half, although he did have a hand in Neymar’s goal.

“I don’t regret the fact he started and he did a lot more than I expected,” said Luis Enrique who had stints at Real and Barca as a player.

“He played well and with a good rhythm,” added the former Spain midfielder.

“I expected a different kind of match, not one in which we were so shaky in defence. That is something we have to correct because otherwise it can cost a great deal – like today.”

Barca, who had not conceded in their opening eight La Liga games, are top on 22 points. Real are second on 21.

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