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Ancelotti: “If Kroos is 100% then he’ll play, if he’s 95% then he won’t”

The main quotes from the pre-match press conference.

Real Madrid CF v Real Sociedad - La Liga Santander Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Ahead of the Real Madrid vs PSG second leg, Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media and previewed the game. In his pre-match press conference, the Italian was keen to emphasise the role that the home crowd can play in the game, stating: “The mental element will be important, as will the home support. We’re very motivated. The plan can’t just be to stop Mbappé. They have Neymar and Messi too. We’ll play as a unit and be intense and intelligent. We’ll try to play out from the back well and press well from the front.”

Toni Kroos is still a doubt for this match, even though he is in the official Real Madrid squad, as Ancelotti and his coaching staff won’t start the German if he isn’t fully recovered. The Italian explained: “Any player who isn’t 100% fit can’t play this type of game. If Kroos is 100% then he’ll play. If he’s 95% then he won’t.”

PSG have a significant injury concern of their own, with Kylian Mbappé a doubt. But, Ancelotti is planning for the Frenchman in any case. He said: “We’re approaching the game assuming Mbappé will play. I always want footballers to avoid injuries and be able to play.”

Ancelotti on pressing and being pressed

Discussing tactics, Ancelotti reflected on how poorly Real Madrid played the ball out from the back in Paris. In his mind, this is their biggest issue to address for the second leg. He said: “If we press high then that means we need to be alert in defence, especially against their forwards. We suffered their high press in the last game and we couldn’t find good attacking opportunities when bringing the ball out. Our low block worked well in the first leg, as we only conceded the goal in the last minute, but we definitely have to be better with the ball.”

Ancelotti on criticism

Asked about the season as whole, the Italian insisted that this has been a positive campaign. But, he said that there will always be critics, telling the media that: “Everybody will have their opinion on our season. It has been the season of ‘buts’. They say ‘Oh, they won, but… low block, but… too little possession, but… too many counter attacks, but… if they didn’t have Courtois… if Benzema didn’t score so many goals’. I think it has been a good season and we can still improve in the final two months.”