Transmitting tranquility, temper, as usual. Even joking, that’s how Ancelotti left the Etihad press conference, just over 24 hours before facing Manchester City. “There are two teams in the semifinals that no one thought could make it, one Villarreal and the other us,” he said. “The objective is to reach the final, because if we do, Madrid always have more options to win it,” he added.
Does City have such a close Premier League, does it benefit or harm it?
It’s hard to say, but the players are used to it every day. The fact of recovering from one day to the next, the players are used to it and there is no problem, unless there are injuries. I don’t think we’re going to be able to take advantage of this.
You are the coach of the Tenth. Why did you decide to come back at the risk of not doing it again?
I returned to Madrid because Madrid needed a coach. For me it was a great illusion to return, but it was not my decision. Madrid was confident in what it could do and I’m enjoying it.
He said that Atlético defended very well against City. Do you plan to carry out this approach?
The team in defensive phase if you don’t have a compact team you are going to suffer. The defensive aspect tomorrow has an important part of the game. Then there are times when City will have the ball and you can’t watch what you do; and when you win the ball you have to take advantage of the qualities we have. There are not many secrets.
What do you remember about the 0-4 night against Bayern?
I have good memories of that game. Tomorrow will be another story. Hopefully we can get out of this tie well.
Guardiola says that playing against Madrid is playing against history. Is it an added responsibility?
The history of Madrid counts a lot in this competition. The story helps the players to feel the weight of this shirt, but it is a weight, a responsibility, very positive.
Guardiola also spoke of the greatness of Madrid. Do you think that City could be under pressure because of this?
The pressure is similar. For Madrid it is not a success to reach a semifinal. It is a success to reach the final in this competition. It is our objective, because if Madrid arrives, they have a higher percentage of winning it.
At the beginning of the season, many predicted that Madrid would not go far in Europe…
I remember what was said. It was what the press and public opinion thought. There are two teams in the semi-finals that nobody thought could make it, one Villarreal and the other us, over teams that were favorites like PSG or City.
The losses of Stones and Walker in the City, does the body ask you to bet on a third striker?
We are not going to sentence the tie tomorrow. I maintain the doubt to bet by three forwards or only two. I have to consider how Rodrygo or Camavinga are doing. The question is this.
Does the fact that the League is ‘won’ make you prepare for this tie more calmly?
We are not thinking about what may happen on Saturday. We have the League much closer. We can win it in our stadium. We are happy to be able to win it a month earlier. On the other hand, tomorrow’s game, to which we arrived happy and excited. It’s the kind of game these players want to play. For me, the work in this period is very simple, I don’t need to talk much to the players, beyond working on the strategy. It is not the right time to evaluate the season, but for me the work this year has been easy.
Casemiro and Alaba
Mendy is fine. We have some doubts with Alaba and more with Casemiro. Today’s training will tell us for both.
He is the coach with the most experience in the semifinals…
Play it well. The fact that the rule has changed makes the tie more open. In these types of matches there is a mixture of happiness, because we are very close to the final of the most important competition in the world, and the concern of playing against a strong team. We are used to it because in this Champions League we have had very tough games against teams that were favorites in the competition. We fought, it went well and we will fight again tomorrow.
Casemiro is further back. He is going to try it in training. Alaba and Mendy are doing pretty well. We have more confidence with them. I have a plan devised if Casemiro does not arrive. We have to keep in mind that it is 180 minutes. For what he has gone through in the round of 16 and in the quarterfinals, it is not necessary for us to do well for the 180 minutes. Having reached this point in the league makes us very happy. We have to prepare well for Saturday’s game. We want to finish the League in our stadium.