Carlo Ancelotti talks Chelsea, Benzema, Italy and Champions League
Carlo Ancelotti spoke in his pre-match press conference about what Real Madrid have to do to advance to the Champions League semi-finals.
Real Madrid welcome Chelsea to the Santiago Bernabéu for Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg. Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti gave his thoughts ahead of the clash in the Spanish capital.
On Real Madrid vs Chelsea
“It’s quite normal that everyone knows it’s going to be a difficult game. Everyone, the team and the fans. It’s the quarter-finals of the Champions League, they’re always difficult games, despite what happened in the first leg. We have to play a complete game, know how to suffer, fight, compete, be in the game for 90 minutes. We have to think about playing the same game as we did in London, and we are expecting an opponent who will do their best to win the tie.”
“We have a lot of respect for Chelsea. They have a lot of quality and very good players. We have to think that Chelsea will play better. I’m happy to be in the quarter-finals, but we know we will have to suffer and we are ready to suffer.”
On Chelsea playing a physical game
“We’ll see what the line-up is. I think we’d like to play the same game, but we have to think that Chelsea might change theirs because it didn’t work out well for them. We have to be ready for everyone, that’s what we’re thinking. Maybe we have to play differently.”
Tuchel says Chelsea can’t come back
“I don’t know, everyone has their own opinion, Chelsea will come here to fight and to go through. They know it’s difficult, but they’re going to try, that’s the spirit of football, of the big clubs that never give up.”
Ancelotti discusses return to Real Madrid
Was returning to Madrid the best decision of your career?
“At Everton, I felt very good, we worked very well together… the relationship with the club was very good, but then Madrid called and I can understand that someone was angry, but I couldn’t say no. It was the only club that I did not say no to. They were the only club I couldn’t say no to. To the rest, I could say no to stay at Everton but not to Madrid.”
Would you like to be a national team manager?
“I’ve thought about it. I had the chance to manage Italy in 2018, but I have to be honest, I like the day-to-day, not just the matches. I had a coach who said that the coach’s job is the best if there are no matches; it’s not like that, the matches give you opportunities like this Tuesday, although you suffer too. But the day-to-day is my thing, until that changes I won’t be a coach of a national team. The experience in Italy at the 94 World Cup was spectacular, but I don’t want to work only three days a year.”
“He has gained experience and personality in his career. In recent times he has been a very important part of this club, and he still is. I think he will continue to be in the future. His ability to play in that position... I see very few players with that ability in the world.”
Benzema and Haaland playing together at Madrid
“What a question! I’m sorry, I can’t answer that. What I can say is that Benzema is a modern-day forward. In the past, the number nine would stand in the box and finish off whatever came his way. Karim is what modern football demands of a striker, finishing, playing, defensive work... He is the perfect example of what a centre-forward should be today.”
Winning the Champions League
“The Champions League is a very tough competition and reaching the final is very difficult. I said it at the beginning of the season because I know the team well: the quality we need is here. It’s not just physical or tactical, it’s the personality they have. This team can compete.”
The message to the dressing room ahead of Tuesday
“I’m lucky because this squad knows these games well and what can happen. ”The mood is that of a happy squad, it’s an opportunity to reach a Champions League semi-final.”