Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti believes his men are now ‘clear favourites’ for the La Liga title after their convincing 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid.
Ancelotti’s men have stormed ahead of the pack after a terrific autumn which has seen them win eight of their nine league games since October 3, with the other a draw.
And in so doing they have put clear water between themselves and their traditionally closest rivals, with Atletico now 13 points behind and Barcelona even further back with an 18-point deficit.
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Both those teams have a game in hand but in reality it’s Sevilla who are the last real challengers to Real, and they could close the gap at the top to five points if they win their game in hand.
Despite the feel-good factor around the club, Ancelotti sounded a note of caution in his post-match press conference.
“I have a squad that allows me to be calm,” he said.
“They manage games very well and they’re committed defensively. We’re a team, not just one with good individual players, and that’s the difference.
“We’re clear favourites because we’re doing this part really well. But, we’re just focusing on the next matches. A mental drop-off can be costly, so we have to continue.

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“When I was here before, we won 22 matches in a row in the second year, but the second half of the season didn’t go well. I don’t forget that. I’m happy now, but I know there could be slip-ups in the second half of the season.
“Maybe the previous experience can help me to avoid mistakes this time. We’ll look to be competitive in all the competitions we have.”
The three points at the Bernabeu might have been delivered by goals from Karim Benzema and a rejuvenated Marco Asensio, but it was Luka Modric whose contribution stood out.
Ancelotti said afterwards of his 36-year-old schemer: “I congratulated him on his performance after the game, because he was spectacular.
“I don’t know what I told him, but he was spectacular on the ball all night, and without the ball he was extraordinary.”
For Modric, the standing ovation he received from fans towards the end clearly meant a lot to him, even after all he has achieved in the game.
“It's an incredible feeling when you hear the Bernabeu singing your name,” he told Real Madrid TV.
“I want to thank them once more for the warmth they always show me. At last we've had a derby with a home crowd in, it really helps playing at the Bernabeu with the fans in.
“We showed today how much it means to us to play here, we put in a great performance and deserved to win. I feel good physically and mentally.
“We worked well in pre-season and are working hard during the season with the coach and the fitness trainers. We've got to keep going".
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