NEWS STORY. 08/05/2023
Carlo Ancelotti spoke in the press room at Real Madrid City the day before the clash with Manchester City, in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals, which will be played at the Santiago Bernabéu (9pm CET): “The plan for tomorrow is to put on a complete performance, to try to get the best we have physically, mentally, motivationally and technically. Bearing in mind that the decisive match will be the second leg, we want to gain a slight advantage tomorrow. Let’s see if we can do that”.
“Getting an advantage would be positive for us. But we also have to be at our best in the match, not to be under the cosh too much. It's not just a matter of results. If you're feeling good and you're able to create problems and avoid them, that can also be a small advantage. We'll try to do that tomorrow. It's a game that demands a lot from everyone. When you get to a semi-final of a competition like this, it's to be expected."
Comparison to last year
"I think we're at the same level. Now it's difficult to assess the physical condition compared to last year. What counts is the motivation and the desire we have. I think that winning the Copa del Rey has given us extra motivation for tomorrow's game. As I said, we're well up for it."
Change in Guardiola’s style of play
“It's a more complete team in comparison to last year. They had a very dangerous striker in Gabriel Jesus, but Haaland has different attributes. City haven't changed their style, they might play a bit more direct and play a long ball because they have a different striker who is big. But behind him they have De Bruyne and in many games they have taken advantage of this situation from a long ball by winning a second ball. This is another chance but it doesn't mean he's changed the style. They're very well organised at the back and look after the ball well.”
"He's a very dangerous player, he's shown amazing quality especially in the goals he's scored. He's a threat, but only talking about Haaland means not talking about a very complete team, which defends well, attacks well and has plenty of ideas. We're not setting out just to stop Haaland, but to stop a team that seems unstoppable. I think we have a chance to have an even, competitive game and that we can win."
The fans’ confidence
"Last year the team went into it after three years without winning the Champions League and today we go into it after winning it last year. This is the only change. Our fans always have the hope of being able to win this competition."
“He can play, no problem. If he’s good he plays and tomorrow he will do”.
"It's clear in midfield. Modrić will play and others. Camavinga sometimes changes position depending on whether he has the ball or not. Sometimes he plays inside and sometimes between the lines. He's not a full-back who pushes on down the wing, on the outside we have one who is pretty dangerous, in Vinicius. He’s only a full-back when we don’t have the ball and he occupies that position.”
Fatigue because of calendar
“The physical aspect won't be the most important thing tomorrow. We've had time to recover and obviously Valverde's fatigue is completely different to mine.”
What is needed on the pitch?
“Plenty of courage, a lot of strength and a lot of experience. Plus all the players' desire to keep on winning.”
Helping the young players
“I've helped these young players by giving them playing time and showing faith in them. They're making the most of it and they're doing very well. It's a big development for this club and its future. The progress made by Vini, Valverde, Camavinga and Rodrygo in these two years gives us hope for the future. And the future is also tomorrow.”
Haaland and Courtois
“We don't plan a game to stop one player, but a team that is extremely dangerous, especially with the ball. Of course the defensive aspect is very important, but only focusing on one player means forgetting about others who are also very talented and dangerous.”
Attack or defend
“If you defend well, you should at least get a draw. That doesn't mean we won't attack because we have the quality to do so. But let's not forget that last year in two games against City we conceded five goals and scored six. I'd take that for this year.”
“I was lucky enough to play a Champions League semi-final in a derby match in 2003. It went well for us. There's a lot of pressure in this match, or at least there was. On a coaching and tactical level it's going to be very close, just like our semi-final.”