For me it is more of a no brainer really, to give playing time to Isco even in important games. He could easily swap places with Di Maria or Bale (DI Maria in this case would go to his natural winger position with Isco in the middle) or Modric.
This is last stretch of the season and it is during this stage that teams start to break down because of injuries to personnel or because the players are tired mentally and physically. Real Madrid looked both against Atletico Madrid this past weekend.
Why did Ancelotti did not go with Isco from the start. For me he played really well after he came on in the second half.
Here are a few reasons why I think he could have changed the game for Real Madrid and why Ancelotti should have at least brought him on in the start of the second half since Di Maria was not his usual self:
Isco’s close ball control would have been vital in this kind of a match where space is limited and people close you down from the word go.
Sometimes it is not about who is the better player but who is the most daring especially in Real Madrid’s case where every player is a world class player. Isco showed he had the guts to go for his dribbles and his dagger through balls even in a big derby game likes against Atletico Madrid but sadly he came on for about 20 minutes and could not make much of an impact.
Isco’s passing ability no doubt would have allowed Real Madrid more possession on the ball and thus more calm while going forward. Di Maria along with Alonso, was tired and hence could no string two good passes together. Ancelotti should have been more careful with his selection of players.
Isco could have provided the brains which Real Madrid lacked severely against Atletico Madrid. Real Madrid had the steam of Ronaldo, Benzema, Bale, DI Maria and Modric but no brains in the absence of a fully fit and fresh Xabi Alonso. Real Madrid players did not make good decisions with the ball while they had it throughout the match. Isco could have been that player had he been played or at least brought on in the start of the second half.
Obviously this goes without saying that Ancelotti should be more careful with a player like Isco. He is young and talented and would most probably look for another club come the end of the season. Real Madrid cannot afford to lose a player of his quality even though Real Madrid is the strongest team in Europe at the moment as far as attacking strength is concerned.
Liverpool, reportedly, are interested in Isco and I think, him being only 21, Liverpool would be ready to break the bank for him.