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Liverpool - Real Madrid

Ancelotti: "Vini Jr. the most influential player in world football right now”

NEWS STORY. 21/02/2023

"Winning at Anfield isn't easy and doing so in a convincing manner is even more difficult”, said the coach.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke in the Anfield press room after the Champions League last-16 first leg against Liverpool. The coach analysed the performance: "Winning at Anfield isn't easy and doing so in a convincing manner is even more difficult. We're very pleased about that. The team showed that they're improving and that they've been at a good level in February after a tough January. The season doesn't stop and we have to be at our best. We're pleased and we're confident we can do well".

"We struggled a lot at the start, but in the second half we made a difference. We didn't expect to get off to such a start, but as is often the case with this team, we stayed calm and gradually got into the game thanks to the quality we have. The forwards were highly effective and we created problems when we broke out of their pressure. We sorted out the defensive side of things and in the second half we made a difference. We looked for our front players, who were outstanding today".

The tie
“We have gained an advantage from the first 90 minutes and now we have to manage the second 90 in Madrid well. Liverpool are a highly competitive team and unfortunately the tie isn't over. Liverpool are a great team because they play at a high tempo and that's tough to come by in Europe. It's going to be tough for us”.

Tactical approach in comparison to the Paris final
“I tried to field a line-up to ensure we played a more open game than in the final because this is a knockout tie. We went for a dangerous forward line. Rodrygo did a fantastic job defensively and really helped us a lot. We had a different strategy compared to the final”.

What were you thinking at 2-0?
“I remembered the semi-final against Manchester City. It was inevitable that we'd have to suffer. We said to ourselves that we could struggle, but the important thing was to remain calm and keep our emotions under control. This is where the veterans really help a lot. Everyone showed composure because it was a long game. You keep cool by trusting in the quality you have. You have to prepare the team to stick to the strategy you have set out”.

Praise for Vini Jr.
“Right now he's the most influential player in world football. No other player has this consistency”.

Modrić’s display
“He's the same Modrić as always. The best Modrić you can see in a match: consistent, confident and great on the ball. In times of trouble, he's been essential in getting us out of trouble”.

The introduction of Nacho
"I told Luka to press Fabinho in the first half, but he found more on the left wing, and in the second half we put Valverde there. Nacho always performs. He has a football intelligence in defence that not many have. We sorted it out well in the second half".