NEWS STORY. 06/04/2022
Carlo Ancelotti took to the media room at Stamford Bridge to reflect on the win over Chelsea in the first leg of the sides’ Champions League quarter-final tie: “I'm feeling fine. I felt fine and had virtually no symptoms. I've been away from the team for a week and found a team in fantastic shape on my return. We put in a very good performance and were brave and showed our personality. We were the better side, but there’s still another game to come and anything can happen”.
“It's now half-time in the tie and we want to produce the same performance in the return leg. We've given ourselves an advantage after producing a good game plan and that's all there is to it. We've clearly got an advantage, but the tie is still wide open. Chelsea benefit from the fact that the away goals rule is no longer in place”.
Key to Stamford Bridge triumph
“The most important element was the bravery that the players showed. The key was that we played out really well from the back and looked to play between the lines. We then attacked really well through Vini Jr. and Benzema, who linked up excellently. When we play like that, we're capable of competing with anyone”.
Praise for Benzema
“He's just like a fine wine. He gets better every day and feels as if he's gaining in importance within the team every day and is becoming more of a leader. That's making all the difference in him. He has a strong personality and is aware that he's an important player. The way he carries himself makes him a role model for everyone. He's a complete player. He scores a lot of goals and is very important because he really helps the team with his runs and when we're in possession. He's a real threat in the box. We're really pleased with him and are lucky to have him”.
“We played with the same system, but I put Valverde in to tighten up Chelsea’s left wing a bit. Valverde did really well. It all depended on Azpilicueta’s position. If he stayed back, Valverde moved forward. I talk to the players about football, I understand what they think and what they’d like. Then I’m the one who takes the decisions. Sometimes I’m right and sometimes I’m not”.
“They’re a great side, with great players. I’ve got loads of great memories from my time here and I still think the return leg will be tough. We must be focussed, it’s the only way to face it. They’re a team that will always have a place in my heart and they’re one of the best in Europe, as they’ve shown in recent years”.
On the substitutions of Militão, Benzema and Valverde
“Valverde and Karim were tired and that’s why I took them off. Militão had a knock on his hip in the first half and then he sprained his knee. It’s nothing serious, but he couldn’t finish the game”
Boos for Courtois
“The Chelsea fans have the opinions. I was there. Sometimes this kind of welcome means that the players receive a lot of respect because of their quality. The important thing is not to be affected, as we’ve seen today”.
A manager’s job
“Doubts form part of a manager’s job, and you are questioned a lot. The manager is responsible for the defeats and the players get the credit for the wins. That’s how football works”.