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Ancelotti: "Our fans have to be ready for the return leg"

NEWS STORY. 26/04/2022

"We managed to produce a response and keep the tie alive as it head back to the Bernabéu", explained the coach.

Carlo Ancelotti took to the media room at the Etihad Stadium to reflect on the Champions League semi-final first-leg encounter against Manchester City: “I'm a bit frustrated because we came second best in many of our individual duels in the first half and they scored two goals that we could have avoided had we been paying attention. We managed to produce a reaction and keep the game alive ahead of the return leg. It's a defeat that keeps us in the tie ahead of the second match at the Bernabéu We’ve got to improve defensively because we’ve got the quality up top to pose them problems in the return leg”.

“I get the feeling that we started the game very poorly. We were too soft and ended up conceding two goals. The team then showed it's great ability to produce a reaction, we competed and were in the game right up until the end. We have to improve defensively. We did well in possession and created goalscoring opportunities. It’ll be really important that we improve defensively in the return leg. I've got a very experienced team that keep their cool when the going gets tough. They've played many games like this and never give in and always keep their heads up”.

Return leg
“I think we’ll struggle to see a similar and equally open game as the one we did here tonight. It’ll be a different match. City have the advantage and you've got to take that into account. I hope that our fans demand a better performance from us to reach the final. Our fans have to be ready for the return leg because we're going to fight to make it another magical night”.

Is an open game better at the Bernabéu?
“We’re conceded goals, but we played with a lot of energy on the pitch and we played an open game. Maybe that was because the opposition went ahead. But it could be a sign that we’re better if we play more openly. Clearly for the return leg, if we defend better we’ll have the chance to make it through”.

Benzema and Modrić
“Karim (Benzema) played really well, as he always does. He’s shown great character to take the penalty and he scored it spectacularly. I was surprised he took it that way. Modrić also had a great game, but I took him off because I thought a fresher player could give us more for the last ten minutes. Modrić was spectacular and I brought on Ceballos, who also showed real character”.

The difference between the first leg against PSG
“It’s never good when you lose a game, but it was different against PSG. In that game we didn’t have a shot on goal and today we scored three goals and we fought hard. We played well with the ball and we have to be better without the ball. I have a different feeling compared with against PSG”.

Alaba and Casemiro
Casemiro should be available for the return leg and we’ll have to see about Alaba. We took him off as a precaution, but I hope both of them are back for the return leg”.