REAL MADRID-MANCHESTER CITY

Pellegrini: "I'd tell Cristiano to take it easy tomorrow..."

Clichy accompanied the manager: "That Benzema isn't playing is positive. It'll be a tall order not to concede any, but then we could score and not concede any"
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Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini and Gaël Clichy previewed tomorrow's semi-final return leg at the Bernabéu. The Chilean said that if Zidane says Cristiano is back to full fitness, then it must be true.

Reurning to the Bernabéu must be a special moment for you…

It's always nice to come back, because it's a stadium which brings back a lot of good memories from the campaign I spent here with Madrid. I've been back before - with Málaga. For me it was an important year in my career and luckily I've always be able to count on the support of the Bernabéu.

Are you confident your team can pull a surprise?

The motivation which drives us is the opportunity to make the final, something which we've never done before. Playing against a great rival in a beautiful stadium is another motivating factor for us. You have to believe in your team and we believe in ourselves and we hope to show that throughout the 90 minutes.

There are four Spanish teams in the semi-finals of the two European competitions… why are they so strong?

I've always said that then best league in the world is the Premier League - for various reasons - the fans, the organization… But the best football is played in Spain. It's not by sheer chance that Sevilla have won two Europa Leagues and Spanish teams in general make the final. The Spanish game is very technical and the teams play well. The best football is played here”.

You rate Agüero among the best and not far behind Messi and Cristiano. How confident is he about tomorrow's game?

In the big games, there's always a lot of talk about tactics but it's the best players, the ones with the most techniques who usually decide these kinds of matches. We have Agüero and I hope to see him at his best tomorrow.

What do you think of Cristiano's return for this second leg?

Cristiano has always been a different player, he scores a lot of goals, you only need to take a look at the figures he's registered at Madrid. But Madrid isn't only about Cristiano. If he doesn't play then they have other options. What matters is that we perform as a team, not just against Cristiano but against  Madrid as a whole.

Cristiano says he's recovered and ready. How can you tell a player like Cristiano to take a break?

I'd tell Cristiano to take a break tomorrow (smiles). He's a great profesional, I know about his physical condition and if their coach says he'll play I'm sure he'll be at 100 per cent. In semi-final only the best are going to play.

How would you assess the job Zidane's doing?

It's difficult to evaluate Zidane in just five months. He's a coach who is only just starting out, he's got everything he needs to become a great coach and he has known how to take over a Madrid side which was struggling and now is battling to win the league and Champions League.

How is Yayá Touré?

Yayá has trained without problemas this week and he's travelled with us. He's a player with a lot of quality who has been fortunate enough to have won the Champions League with Barça and he's going to be very important for us.

Why didn't the squad train at the Bernabéu?

The Bernabéu pitch will be immaculate- we already know that without having to see it. We prefered to train at home There's no need for us to take a look at the stadium. For me too it would be a fiasco not to get to the final if the team plays like I hope it plays tomorrow. If Madrid beat us, we will congratulate them. I hope we can get to the final in the way we would like.

Clichy: "That Benzema's not playing is good for us"

"Karim is a very important player for Real Madrid, he's the bridge between Cristiano and midfield. If he's not playing that can only be good for us but a side like Madrid can replace him with another equally good player. It's a shame that he'll miss the match, but we're confronting the game with or without him".