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Ancelotti: “They'll be up against 11 players plus the Bernabéu in the return leg"

NEWS STORY. 15/02/2022

"We weren't very aggressive and failed to perform in possession", insisted the coach.

The first installment of the Champions League round-of-16 tie between PSG and Real Madrid saw the hosts emerge victorious. Carlo Ancelotti had the following to say at the final whistle,: “We were made to suffer. We performed pretty well defensively. We weren't very aggressive and failed to perform when in possession. We really struggled to overcome PSG’s press in our half and that's why we didn't create any clear-cut chances. We struggled to get out of our half and couldn't get the ball out wide to Asensio and Vini Jr., whilst Karim didn't have any chances to get on the ball. There's no fancy explanation for it. That's just how it played out. We didn't perform as we wanted to in possession”.

Reason for optimism
“We now face the return leg back at our place and we haven't got that concern about the away goals rule. That could end up helping us. Should we be optimistic? PSG clearly have a small advantage and I hope that it doesn't prove enough in the game back at the Bernabéu. I'm optimistic because we'll go out there with 11 players and 50,000 fans inside the Bernabéu. That's why I'm optimistic”.

“As I said, Benzema’s issue wasn't a fitness one. He dug in and didn't have any problems and I brought him off five minutes before the end. The problem was that we didn't manage to give him the service we wanted. We struggled to create any play, which is something that we don't usually really have any problems with when the opposition apply a high press. I'm optimistic ahead of the return leg. PSG were the better side in the first leg and we're going to have to perform better in the return match”.

Orsato and Mbappé
“Yes, I spoke to Orsato and told him he’s given us two cards where there was no clear foul because Mendy got the ball. Mbappé is unstoppable, we tried to contain him. Militão did a fantastic job but he’s a player who can always come up with something and he did so in the final minute”.

“We did struggle in every area of the pitch, with the pressure on our full-backs and midfielders. The guys in the middle of the park don’t usually misplace as many passes as they did today. We have to get more things right and we can’t change our attributes. We have done things well on many occasions and while we didn’t today, it doesn’t mean we have to change; we have to keep going and get better”.
“Too conservative means you have to try your luck at times and Courtois needs to send out a long ball. Our quality didn’t come through tonight because we really struggled against the press. We needed to be a bit more aggressive in the low block but it wasn’t a conservative approach, to try and use the ball when we had it, as we usually do, but it wasn’t to be today”. 

Absentees for return leg
“It won’t be the first time we’ll be without Casemiro and Mendy. We have a good squad and we can replace them. That’s just a player issue. We must deliver a more convincing performance than we managed today. As I say, we defended well but the problem was we struggled more than we’re used to with the ball”.