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Ancelotti: "Real Madrid's history in this competition helps our players"

NEWS STORY. 25/04/2022

"Our aim to reach the final because whenever Real Madrid make it through to finals, they usually have have a good chance of winning”, explained the boss.

Carlo Ancelotti addressed the press from the media room at the Etihad Stadium before the last training session ahead of the Champions League semi-final between Manchester City and Real Madrid (9pm CET) and he previewed the encounter in the following terms: “Real Madrid’s history in this competition means a great deal for us and more than our opposition. That history, which has been built on over all of these years, helps our players to feel the weight of this shirt and it's a positive weight. Wearing this shirt brings a positive responsibility”.

“There are two teams that nobody thought would get to the semi-finals and they’re Villarreal and Real Madrid. We’re really happy to be here and competing. Real Madrid will always compete and fight 100%”.

“The tie won't be decided tomorrow. It will be decided back at the Bernabéu. I'm not sure whether or not to go with three strikers or two. Rodrygo is doing well, as is Camavinga. They bring a lot of energy and those are the doubts I've got in my mind. The pressure is similar. For us, reaching the semi-finals does not represent success. We’re raring to reach the final. Our aim is to reach the final because when Real Madrid make it through to finals there's usually a greater chance of them winning it”.

“You've got to manage the game properly. The change in the rules on the goals means that everything is more open and in these types of games there’s a mix of happiness because we’re very close to reaching the final of the leading club competition in the world, whilst there’s the concern that comes from facing a strong side. We’re used to that because we’ve had some really tough games in this edition of the Champions League. We've battled and things have gone well for us and there's no question that we’ll fight hard again tomorrow”.

Injured players
"Mendy is fine. There's a question mark over Alaba and an even bigger question mark surrounding Casemiro. We’ll have to see how tonight's training session goes. Casemiro is more of a doubt than Alaba. Casemiro is pushing hard to make it and is nearly there. If he doesn't make it for this game, he’ll be involved in the next one”.

Pressure because you can win the LaLiga title on Saturday?
“We're not thinking about what’ll happen on Saturday. We’re now a lot closer to winning LaLiga, we can win it at our stadium and will try to do so. We're really happy to be able to win an important competition a month before it’s over”.

“Meanwhile, we've got this game, which we head into with real excitement. There's a really good atmosphere and these are the sorts of games that players with their experience want to prepare for and be involved in. I don't need to say all that much to them to get them ready for the game. We work on our tactics, but this game is very easy for me. Now isn’t the time to be assessing our season, but my job has been easy this year”.
Defensive block against Manchester City
“If you’re not a compact unit you’ll suffer. The defensive side of things will play an important part in tomorrow's match. Defending well, being a compact unit and having that collective commitment will be important. There’ll be spells when City will have the ball, and when they do, we've got to defend and try to win it back. You can do that by applying a high, mid or low press and when we win the ball back, we've got to make the most of our quality. You can do that by adopting a solid set-up at the back, by playing direct football, with one-on-one duels… There's no big secret to the way we'll set up”.
 Why did you return to Real Madrid?
“Because Real Madrid needed a coach. I was excited about returning, but it wasn't my decision. Real Madrid trusted in what I could do and I'm enjoying myself”.
More recovery days than City
“The players are used to playing every day and that won't be an issue. If there are injuries then it's different, but I don't think that gives us any sort of advantage”.