NEWS STORY. 08/03/2022. Javier Vázquez
Carlo Ancelotti fielded questions from the media in the build-up to Wednesday’s match against PSG. The Italian analysed the Champions League round of 16 second-leg clash (9pm CET) in the following terms: “There are many factors in these kinds of games. The most important aspect is the mental side of things and the excitement levels. The important thing is that we will enjoy the backing of our fans, which is big motivation. I see the team as being in good shape, motivated and relaxed and we're going to produce our best".
“I was a player myself and I never want players to get injured. What happened yesterday to Mbappé means that he's in with a chance of playing and we’re going to prepare for the match as if Mbappé was going to play. Looking back historically in games at the Bernabéu, great players have always received a good reception. I'd obviously understand it if the fans clap him. The Bernabéu fans enjoy watching good players and also like to see Madrid play well and win”.
“Our game plan isn't just all about stopping Mbappé, it involves Neymar and Messi and all of PSG’s good players. Our plan is to play as a unit, both with and without the ball, display intensity for over 90 minutes and put in a strong all-round performance and produce a smart display. We mustn't go crazy out there because we've got to win in the game, it's not a case of having to thrash them. We may go infront early on or in the last minute. The important thing is to be in the game and play with intensity".
“If the player isn't at 100%, they can't play in these types of games. If I believe that Kroos is at 100%, he’ll play, but if Kroos is at 95%, he won't play”.
Fears for tomorrow night?
"I don't usually think about what I fear. I think about what we need to do to produce our best and to perform better than we did in the first leg, play out well from the back and apply a better press. In the build-up to a game, I usually focus on the things that we have to do and not on what we have to avoid”.
Progressing in Champions League
“When we lose, we lose as a group. Our objective is to remain in what’s a very important competition for this club and we've got the same to lose: being knocked out of a competition that's very important to us. This season goes on after this and let's hope we’re still in the Champions League. I'm certain that we will be, but PSG will be thinking exactly the same”.
“Applying a high press is part of a defensive mechanism. When you play against the likes of Mbappé and Neymar, you’ve got to be very wary and I think that the fans will have a very important role to play tomorrow. In that sense, we want to produce a performance that the fans want to see and that's what we'll do”.
“We didn't manage to carry out our game plan. We were made to endure PSG’s high press and didn't manage to create good attacking opportunities by playing the ball out from the back. That's what happened. Our low block in defense worked out well because considering how poor the performance was, we only conceded one goal and that came in the last minute, but we have to do better on the ball”.
Real Madrid at their best against PSG at their best
“Of course we were affected by it. This team are very proud of what they have achieved in this competition and we're all convinced that when we’re at our best this Real Madrid side is capable of competing against PSG when they are at their best. In the first leg, we saw PSG at their best and let's hope that we now see Real Madrid at our best. Karim is doing fine and is back to the player he was before the injury”.
“Everyone has their opinion about the season we're having, but there’s always a but. Whether that be that we're winning at this moment in time, but; we’re performing with the low block, but: that we’re strong on the counter-attack, but: that Courtois isn’t saving anything, but; that Karim doesn’t score, but. I'm convinced that we're having a good season and I hope that we can now improve on that in the final two months”.
“He did really well against Real Sociedad, he displayed his physical and technical strengths and is in good form. I've got a lot of faith in him, be it to play from the start or to come off the bench”.
“The team has had the chance to work on fitness and improve in that department. As I said, we come into this match on the back of a poor performance in Paris and I’m certain that we’re going to go out and produce a good performance tomorrow”.