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Ancelotti: “In order to reach the semi-finals we'll have to dig in, to fight and to compete”

NEWS STORY. 11/04/2022. Alberto Navarro

“We won't be going out relaxed, it's the Champions League quarter-finals, the fans know and so do we, that it'll be a difficult game”, said the coach.

Carlo Ancelotti answered questions from the media the day before Real Madrid take on Chelsea in the Champions League quarter-final second leg (9pm CET). The coach said: "Everyone is well aware that it's going to be a difficult game. The fans know and so do we. It's the Champions League quarter-finals and regardless of what happened in the first leg, we're well aware that in order to reach the semi-finals we'll have to suffer, to fight, to compete and be in the game for 90 minutes".

"I have a squad that is very familiar with this type of match and is aware of what has happened in the past and what can happen. We won't be going out relaxed and the spirit in the squad today is a happy one due to the big opportunity we have to play in this game to reach the Champions League semi-finals. We're up against a very strong side and we must respect them and we do have a lot of respect for them". 

The set up
"We'll see what the line-up will be. We'd like to put on the same performance and approach it the same as in the first leg, although we're expecting the opposition to be at their best in this game in an attempt to get through to the next round. We think they'll change things around because it didn't go their way in the first game and we have to be prepared for anything. Chelsea have a lot of quality and some very good players. We're certain they'll play better than they did in the first leg and we have to be ready".
The team's competitiveness
"Nobody can say that they're going to win the Champions League because it's a very difficult competition. It is very difficult to get to the final and to win it. It's possible to compete, but not everyone can compete. I've been around for a long time and I know how much quality is needed to compete in this competition. Experience and the character of the players play a very important role. We know that we will have to dig in and we're ready to do so".

Tuchel's words ahead of the game
"Everyone has their own view and I think they're coming here with the intention of qualifying for the next round. They're very aware that it'll be difficult, but they're going to give it a go. That's what the spirit of football is about and big, strong teams never give up".

Praise for Benzema
"He embodies what a modern centre forward should be. A centre forward used to be the one who got on the end of things in the box. Karim is what modern football demands of a forward. It's not only about finishing and scoring but also about contributing to the team and doing defensive work. He's a perfect embodiment of what a centre forward needs to be in today's football. Two forwards have stood out this season: Vini Jr. and Benzema. Saying that we rely on Benzema is true and we're very happy to say that".

Casemiro's role
"He's gained experience and built his character in recent times and is still a very important player for this club. He'll continue to so as well because there aren't many players in the world with his experience and ability to play that position".

His future
"I've got a very long contract and I'm not thinking about anything else. I'm happy if the club's happy and if the club isn't, I'm thankful for the time I've had here. I'm confident everything will be worked out at the end of the season and that I'll be happy".

Leaving Everton
"I worked very well at Everton, but the call from Real Madrid came. I can understand that people at Everton were upset, but it's very difficult to say no to Real Madrid. I could say no to any team except Real Madrid. It's the only club I couldn't say no to".

Coaching the Italian national team?
"I had the chance in 2018, but I gave it some thought and I must be honest, I like the day-to-day work and not just the games. I had a coach who said that a coach's job is the most beautiful one in the world when there are no games, but the truth is that the games bring the excitement and the pleasure of being in the dugout in the Champions League quarter-finals, for example. They also bring worry and suffering. I don't like the thought of working three times a year and I won't be coaching any national team until I change my mind on a day-to-day involvement. I had a fantastic experience at the World Cup when I did it in '94 with the national team, but I'll stop when the enjoyment of the day-to-day work wears off".