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Ancelotti: “No, our approach wasn’t conservative”

The coach defended his first leg tactics.

Paris Saint-Germain v Real Madrid: Round Of Sixteen Leg One - UEFA Champions League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

A late Kylian Mbappé goal saw Real Madrid lose 1-0 away at Paris Saint-Germain, but Los Blancos were dominated throughout the game. Carlo Ancelotti, though, insisted in his post-match press conference that Real Madrid weren’t too conservative in their approach to this first leg.

Summing up their problems in the match, he said: “We were quite good defensively. But, we weren’t very aggressive. We couldn’t keep the ball and missed a lot of passes. Our three midfielders usually miss fewer passes than they missed today. We couldn’t play out of their pressure in our half of the pitch. We couldn’t bring it out cleanly and play it to Asensio or Vinícius or even Benzema. It’s not complicated. With the ball, we didn’t do what we wanted. Normally we don’t have that problem because we have quality players. Today, it didn’t come off.”

Asked outright if his tactics were too conservative, he dismissed that, saying: “Being conservative would be Courtois kicking every ball long. But, we always tried to play out from the back. It didn’t work because we suffered too much from their pressure. We played a low block and could have been more aggressive, I agree, but it wasn’t a conservative approach. We tried to play with the ball like we normally do, but it didn’t come off tonight.”

Looking ahead to the return leg at the Bernabéu, the coach said: “We have to be better in the second leg, when we have the game in our stadium. We don’t have to worry about away goals, which could help us. It’s obvious that PSG have a small advantage, but I hope it’s not enough.”

Ancelotti on Benzema’s return from injury

Karim Benzema started and played all but the final five minutes. He hardly touched the ball, but Ancelotti claimed that this wasn’t down to his recent injury. On the striker, the Italian said: “It wasn’t a physical issue. He didn’t have any physical problems. When I changed him, it was just for the final five minutes. His problem was that we couldn’t get him the ball in the way we wanted to.”

Ancelotti on Mbappé’s performance

All eyes were on Kylian Mbappé, logically, and Ancelotti was asked what he thought of the Frenchman’s display. On the match-winner, he said: “We tried to control him and double up on him, which Militão did well. But, he is a player who can always come up with something.”

Ancelotti on his conversation with the referee

At the end of the game, Ancelotti had a lengthy conversation with the referee, fellow Italian Daniele Orsato. Asked what he discussed, the coach replied: “I felt he gave us two cards that were fouls but not much more. Casemiro and Mendy now won’t play the second leg, but we have a deep squad.”