Real Madrid sealed their place in the Copa del Rey semi-finals after beating Espanyol 1-0 at the Bernabeu on Tuesday night.
The 1-0 was the club’s eight’s consecutive game without conceding a goal and Real Madrid manager, Carlo Ancelotti, believes their recent run in form is based on their system.
"I think we started well in the first half. We scored early and controlled the match well, especially the first half. I think everyone had a good match.
“The squad is ready to play. We are sticking with this system because it gives everyone confidence.
"I have already said that I think that this system gives us confidence.
“We have defensive balance because the whole team works hard to recover the ball quickly. The centre-backs have also improved.
The 1-0 also extended Casillas’ record without conceding a goal to 682 minutes and Ancelotti is very happy with his second-choice goalkeeper, who features in Real’s Cup and Champions League games.
"It is a fantastic individual record for Iker, but the whole team deserves it for their hard work,” Ancelotti added.
“It is also good for Iker, who is experiencing a special situation. He has not lost confidence, is showing a lot of character and is an example for everyone.”
The Los Blancos will now either play rivals Atletico Madrid or Athletic Bilbao in the semi-finals, but to Ancelotti “it doesn’t matter who goes through.”
In La Liga, Real have closed the gap to joint log leaders, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, to one point, and next face Athletic Bilbao. Ancelotti believes the tricky opponents, who won their home game against Barcelona, are coming at the right time.
"It is very important and will be a difficult match.
“They are playing well at the moment and everyone knows that playing at San Mamés is not easy. Barcelona lost there.
“It is a good time for us to play the match. We are confident, and have the desire and enthusiasm to do our best to win.”
The 1-0 over Espanyol was Real’s eight’s win in as many games in January, and the Real boss confirmed he used the depth of his squad in order to keep the players fresh for the upcoming tasks.
"I think the best way to coach is with matches, but having to play at a high intensity does not give much chance to rest.
“That is why I used rotations today, to rest some players.
“Our fitness levels are good. We are looking forward to February, we have a week to train and prepare for Champions League tie.
“Football changes and we have to adapt. Before we had a month to prepare for it and now have a week".
How long will Real’s great run in form last and have we seen the best of them yet? Have your say in the comment section below.