LALIGA

Ancelotti hails midfield trio as Real Madrid move top of LaLiga

Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro ran the show as Real Madrid picked Granada apart with a superb LaLiga performance, to take top spot.

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Ancelotti hails Real classy midfield trio as Madrid go top of LaLiga

Carlo Ancelotti praised his midfield as the best in the world after Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro turned on the style during Real Madrid's 1-4 win away at Granada on Sunday. Kroos grabbed his first two assists of a season in which he has had his fair share of injury problems, while Modric and Casemiro laid on a goal apiece in an impressive display in Los Cármenes, as Madrid brought up their 13th successive victory over Granada in LaLiga.

The last time Granada managed a home win against Madrid was in February 2013, when they won 1-0 thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo own goal, his only such blunder in 292 appearances in the Spanish top flight.

There was no danger of a repeat as Madrid grabbed this game by the scruff of the neck and were 1-3 up and chasing more goals by the time their hosts had Monchu sent off for a wild challenge on Vinicius.

Four Madrid players on the scoresheet in Granada

Marco Asensio, Nacho, Vinicius and Ferland Mendy got the goals, but Madrid's midfield three were outstanding, as Ancelotti admiringly acknowledged after the game. With Real Sociedad held 0-0 by Valencia in the late game, it meant Madrid moved top of the table by one point.

"What can you say," Madrid head coach Ancelotti told reporters. "They're playing at a very high level and are still the best midfielders in the world for me. They're doing things that I don't even ask from them, they do it naturally, and it's a big advantage for this club. They are the past, present and the future. If we're talking about the near future, absolutely. If we're looking in 10 years' time, then perhaps not. But we're in good shape for the future because Camavinga, Valverde and Blanco are ready too. They're used to playing together and they have qualities which are hard to explain. The way they switch positions during the game, sometimes Modric drops deep to play through the press and sometimes it's Kroos, Casemiro moves forward."

Kroos created a game-high four chances and finished the game with a passing accuracy of 97.4 per cent. Madrid could have had more goals, but Granada goalkeeper Luis Maximiano made five saves. It was the fourth time this season the young Portuguese has made five saves or more in a LaLiga game, and only Espanyol's Diego López has done so on more occasions (seven).

Tactical moves

Ancelotti included Nacho at centre-back out of a wish to give Eder Militão a rest. He substituted the lively Vinicius late on, too, but stressed that was not due to injury but out of a wish to protect the young Brazilian. "I subbed Vini to avoid any issues," Ancelotti explained. "The game was heating up, for us and for Granada I thought it was best to take him off."