Rotations, i.e. simply greater confidence in the staff

When Real Madrid jumped back in the league table last season, Ancelotti answered questions about rotation at every press conference, namely lack of rotation. Now, from the beginning, he has announced that there will be more changes from match to match. During the Saturday press conference before meeting Almería, he explained the reasons for this attitude: “Very strong staff and the fact that you must have everyone motivated. We also have the World Cup and we need a wide squad in good shape. So the idea is a bit more rotation than last season because as I said, I have a more complete squad now.

In the previous season, the Kings only after the 12th round began to bounce back to their chasing rivals for good, but after gaining an advantage, Ancelotti did not make too many modifications. He argued that he did not want to change something that works and that the players are not tired and need not save them because they may be tired in the spring. The change in attitude this season can be seen in the fact that now the coach believes in substitutes more, because they showed that they can be trusted when they entered the finals in previous games and added their energy.

Ultimately, that management led to the club’s fourth-ever championship and Champions League double. The last such success was achieved by Zinédine Zidane’s team in the 2016/17 season. Before that, you have to go back to the 1957/58 season and the times of Alfredo Di Stéfano. Ancelotti’s doublet distinguished itself from Zidane by virtually no rotation, because the French, especially in the second part of the season, was able to introduce the memorable B squad into the game in league matches, even making 9 changes per game.

It is significant to compare the minutes played between the two teams. In Zidane’s double, Cristiano Ronaldo scored the most minutes among skaters with 2539 minutes (74.2% possible). For Ancelotti five years later, Éder Militão played the most – 3031 minutes (88.6% possible).

To look at the effort distribution, you can compare these two to the 11 outfield players in terms of utilization. For Zidane, there was an 833 minute difference between Cristiano (2539) and Casemiro (1706 minutes). With Ancelotti, the difference between Militão (3031) and Marco Asensio (1731 minutes) is 1300 minutes.

Similar results are obtained when comparing the leaders to the fifteenth players in terms of use. For Zidane, Cristiano (2539) and Álvaro Morata had a 1205-minute difference, which is less than between the first and eleventh players for Ancelotti. In the case of the Italian, the first Militão and the fifteenth Camavinga were separated by 1795 minutes.

The split of minutes seems to have a clear relationship with trust, and this is also seen in the case of Zidane himself. The difference in the 2020/21 season between the most used Benzema (2,894 minutes) and the 11th Valverde (1,330 minutes) is 1,564 minutes, almost twice as much as four seasons earlier with the same coach on the bench.

Ancelotti is therefore announcing more rotations not only because of the accumulation of matches before the World Cup, but also thanks to greater trust in the team. Rodrygo and Camavinga are definitely more credible options today than last year, and Antonio Rüdiger and Aurélien Tchouaméni have joined the team. We are to see the first significant changes today.

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