European champ Real Madrid and Spanish champ Atletico Madrid got their La Liga campaigns off to a tepid start on Monday, with the former struggling to beat lowly Cordoba, 2-0, and the latter failing to find the back of the net in a 0-0 draw at Rayo Vallecano. In their post-game press conferences, both coaches attributed their teams’ display to tiredness, after playing three games in six days, which included last week’s two-game, home-and-away series in the Spanish Super Cup, which Real lost to Atletico, 2-1 on aggregate.
“It was logical after the effort we put in playing Tuesday and Friday that the team tired a little,” Atleti coach Diego Simeone, who served the first game of an eight-game sideline ban on Monday, said. “In the first-half when we were on top and had two or three chances we couldn’t score the goal and it is normal that the other team reacts. In the second half they played a lot better. I don’t know if they created many chances, but they had a constant threat of danger.”
Meanwhile, Real coach Carlo Ancelotti said tiredness was also to blame for his team’s indifferent performance against newly promoted Cordoba. “There was a bit of tiredness because since the 12th we have played every three days and it is not an easy time of the season to do so,” the Italian said. “We suffered a little bit, but we controlled the game. We tried to mix possession with playing a bit more direct and I think we were well-balanced.”