NEWS STORY. 03/05/2022. Rodrigo Salamanca
Carlo Ancelotti gave an online press conference following the final training session in the build-up to the encounter between Real Madrid and Manchester City (9pm CET) and he previewed the game in the following terms: “The team is in good shape, motivated and focused. We face a big challenge and it's a great opportunity to reach another Champions League final. There's a good vibe, we're aware of how tough it’ll be tomorrow night, but are feeling very confident because the tie is wide open. We're currently at a slight disadvantage and want to put that right.”
“It's a meeting between two teams with different qualities, both individual and collective, but with different qualifities. If a team reaches the semi-final or final and wins the Champions League it's not because they only play with their heart. The heart is important, as is the character because they allow you to display your quality. There are a lot of factors. You've also got the individual quality and team commitment. You need all of that to reach a final and win it. Having just one of those elements doesn't allow you to be successful in a competition as major and tough as the Champions League. It's not only with our hearts and the backing of the Bernabéu that allow us to beat City.”
“If we set up with a low block, we're not going to allow them to have 99 shots. If we defend in our own penalty area they'll shoot 99 times. Sometimes you have to take a few risks. We've scored a lot of goals in these kinds of games. We got three against PSG, five against Chelsea and three against Manchester City. You've sometimes got to take a bit of a risk and we got the quality to do that."
“Casemiro will help us out and his return strengthens us defensively and we have to improve the levels of team commitment. We have to move better as a unit, be more compact and avoid problems when they play crosses over... We've worked on the defensive side of things and I think you’ll see an improvement”.
Belief in comeback
“I don't think that history has any part to play. It’ll be a very different game and every game is unique. They have an advantage and we have to put in a better performance. It’ll be very tough, but we've got an incredible opportunity to reach another final after having won LaLiga. There's a really good vibe and we're capable of doing it.”
“Vinicius hasn't changed his position this season because he played on the wing before, but where he has improved is on his finishing. He has a cooler head and is calm in front of goal. He takes his time to make his decisions. He's matured as a player in this period and that's giving him the confidence to score goals. He's amongst the players to have played the most minutes and that confidence has enabled him to gain in maturity when making decisions.”
“There's no question that Alaba won't be able to play tomorrow and won't be in the squad. It’ll be a long game and it'll be more important how we finish the game then how we start it”.
“It doesn't change how we set up defensively. Alaba is an important part of this team, but the same goes for Nacho. He's an experienced player and will perform well for us.”
“Madrid coaches have been and are valued by the club, the fans and the players. That's the most important thing: being appreciated by those who make an opinion about you within a club. However, everyone is entitled to their say.”
“Modrić hasn't changed. I can see a bigger change in Karim, particularly in terms of his leadership and importance. However, sometimes there are big changes in the way that other people perceive a player. Whilst Modrić hasn't changed, it could be that there have been changes in the way in which the other players perceive him. The view that they have of him is that he’s an exceptional, fantastic and extraordinary professional and a player with quality and tremeounds technical, physical and tactical ability.”
“We’ll have to put in a strong all-round performance. Our low block has to do better than we did in the first leg and we have to apply a good press to avoid passes between the lines and transitions. We're not going to set up with a low block, that's for sure, but at some point during the game, that's the way things will go. We're going to have to put in a strong all-round performance.”
“Benzema has done really well. Vini Jr. has really improved in this area, whilst Asensio has scored a lot of goals too, and Modrić, Kroos have also got goals. We’ve done very well in an attacking sense. We struggled against teams that are very tight at the back because we haven't got a very tall striker, but we've managed to overcome that with mobility, link-up play and movement off the ball.”
“He's a fantastic very young player and is performing very well. He’ll go on to have a marvellous career because he's very quick, very intelligent and is a very dangerous attacking player. He's one of the brightest talents in England right now.”