Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has played down La Liga title talk for now, remembering how he watched his side throw away an imposing lead during his first spell at the club.
Real had a near perfect run from mid-September to early February of the 2014/15 campaign, Ancelotti’s second year in charge at the time. They took 51 points from a possible 54, only to fall behind Barcelona thanks to a run of only three wins in seven after that.
With Ancelotti now back and approaching the halfway stage of this season, Real hold an eight-point lead atop La Liga after victory in the Madrid derby marked a seventh consecutive league win.
The distance back to defending champions Atletico now stands at 13 points, while Barcelona are 18 points off the pace. Sevilla and Real Betis are the closest challengers.
Ancelotti, who was unable to deliver a league title during his previous spell at the club, is refusing to get carried away because he knows things go wrong. Equally, however, he is counting on past failings to arm him with the experience and knowhow to get it right this time.
“The first spell was very happy. In the second season we won 22 matches in a row [in all competitions] and in the second phase we did not do well,” he explained, via Marca.
“I do not forget that. I know that in the second phase of the season there can be traps and what happened can serve as my experience.
“We are favourites, it’s true. But you have to stay focused, because you can have a mental decline…you have to continue.”