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Ancelotti: “I don’t think there will be tactical surprises in PSG vs Real Madrid”

The Real Madrid coach previewed the first leg in Paris.

FBL-EUR-C1-REAL MADRID-PRESSER Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti addressed the media in Paris on Monday evening, ahead of the first leg of Real Madrid’s Champions League tie with PSG. The Italian started by providing a general preview of the game, suggesting that it could be a quite predictable duel on a tactical level. He said: “We feel good and have all the confidence in the world. It’ll be difficult against a very good opponent, one that hopes to go all the way to the final and win it. This is a match that could have been the final. The coaches need to put together a good plan, but these are two quite recognisable and similar teams so it shouldn’t be too difficult to put together a plan for me or for Pochettino. I don’t think there will be anything special [tactically]. We need to have a complete performance.”

Just after stating that fans shouldn’t expect any tactical surprises, Ancelotti was asked if he would consider playing a 4-4-2 with an extra midfielder. He paused for a few seconds, chuckling, as if he was wary of giving too much away, before stating: “I don’t think our system will change from the 4-3-3. Maybe we could use a midfielder to play out wide in attack. But, we have Vinícius, Rodrygo and Asensio, so we can use natural wingers there.”

The big doubt, though, is with the No.9 role, as Karim Benzema remains an injury doubt. Although the player himself stated in his own pre-match press conference that he hopes to play, Ancelotti was asked who will take the final decision. He responded: “It’ll be decided between the player, coach and doctors. He has trained already and is sprinting without problems, but we need to see how he feels. The coach also needs to think about all the nuances. It has been a month since he has played, but it’s Karim.”

Ancelotti on the emotion of returning to Paris

For Ancelotti, this is a return to one of his former clubs. On coming back to the Parc des Princes, he said: “I enjoyed my time here and I’m happy to be back. This is a club with a magnificent fanbase. I think Pochettino is doing a great job here, where there is a lot of pressure.”

Ancelotti on whether Mbappé might be distracted

With so much talk about Kylian Mbappé’s future and with the forward linked with Real Madrid, Ancelotti was asked if he thinks the Frenchman might come into this tie with a unique set of emotions. To that, the coach replied: “I think all the players in this game are 100 percent focused on eliminating the opponent. Mbappé will be thinking the same as Benzema, Vinícius, Messi… He’ll just want to continue in this season’s Champions League.”

Ancelotti on Bale’s return to action

Gareth Bale could feature in this first leg, having played on Saturday for the first time since August. Discussing the Welshman’s standing at the club, Ancelotti said: “I speak to Bale as I do with any player. Our personal relationship is good. He has had injuries that have been difficult for him and his contract is expiring, but he wants to finish his time here in the way he deserves to. He has brought so many titles to this club, with Champions Leagues and a Copa del Rey. It’d be nice for his career to finish his time here well.”