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Ancelotti: “There was only one team on the pitch in the final 30 minutes”

The coach’s thoughts on the epic comeback.

Real Madrid v Paris Saint Germain - UEFA Champions League Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Real Madrid pulled off an epic comeback on Wednesday night. Not only did they overturn the 1-0 loss from the first leg vs PSG, but they also went down on the night to a Kylian Mbappé goal before a Karim Benzema hat-trick made it 3-2 on aggregate and sent Real Madrid through to the Champions League quarter-finals. It was a wild final half hour, with Carlo Ancelotti highlighting how his team finished stronger.

In his post-match press conference, the coach said: “We’re all very happy and excited. There’s not many more words for it. I think all Madridistas are happy and that’s the most important thing. We suffered a lot, but stayed in there. It was tough to win the ball back in the first half, but one good press from Karim gave us the first goal and then the magic of this stadium happened. It’s not hard to explain. The fans gave us energy and killed the opponent. There was only one team on the pitch for the final 30 minutes. I’ve had many nights in this competition, but there’s not many nights like this one. If it becomes a truly unforgettable night, it’ll mean we’ve gone far in this year’s Champions League.”

Asked about his substitutions and tactical tweaks, Ancelotti highlighted that there was more to the turnaround than that. He said: “The tactical changes were important because we changed the game. The freshness of Camavinga and Rodrygo helped. But, it wasn’t just tactical. We had more energy. That was partly because Camavinga had a lot of energy and they didn’t have any more.”

Ancelotti on Real Madrid’s Champions League chances

Asked if Real Madrid are now favourites to win this year’s Champions League, Ancelotti didn’t want to go that far. He said: “We can compete against any team. After the first leg people said we had no chance, but things have changed. We played better in this game. We had character. We had some luck too, but we deserved the luck we had in our first goal.”

Ancelotti on Benzema and Modrić’s brilliance

Karim Benzema and Luka Modrić were the stars of the night and the coach was asked about how they manage to keep performing at the top level despite getting on in years. He replied: “They just get better and better. Karim is back from injury and that has made a difference. Luka is playing well no matter where I position him, even though he has played some different positions.”