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Ancelotti: “Nobody thought Real Madrid would reach the 2021/22 final, but we’re there”

Here’s what Ancelotti said in the post-match press conference.

Real Madrid v Manchester City Semi Final Leg Two - UEFA Champions League Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Real Madrid have done it again. They have once again pulled off an epic comeback to progress in the Champions League, this time scoring two goals in two minutes against Manchester City to take the tie to extra time and to win 6-5 on aggregate.

It’s almost unexplainable, but, when asked how Los Blancos are able to do this time and time again, Carlo Ancelotti said the following: “It’s not easy to explain. When everyone thought it was over, a little detail and a good combination produced Rodrygo’s first goal. We then put everything into it. We had it all. Sacrifice, luck and energy. The team didn’t give up. I think all players everywhere don’t give up, but there’s something special here. Rodrygo came on and scored two. Vallejo was on for five minutes and won all his duels. Ceballos and Asensio went on and sacrificed.”

It has been a tough run overall, with Real Madrid eliminating some very difficult opponents. Evaluating the run to the final, Ancelotti said: “I don’t think anybody thought Real Madrid would make it to the final this year, but we’re there. We’ve faced very strong teams, the teams who were favoured to win the Champions League. PSG, Chelsea and then Manchester City. Now we have to face another of the favourites.”

Ancelotti on the evolution of the midfield

Real Madrid pulled off this comeback without Casemiro, Toni Kroos or Luka Modrić on the field at the end. Asked about this and whether there is a passing of the torch in the team’s midfield, Ancelotti said: “Casemiro, Kroos and Modrić played a good match. I took off all three of them, but only to add some extra energy. I think the future of Real Madrid is in good hands because these three will continue and then we have quality youngsters too.”

Ancelotti on the tactics of extra time

Real Madrid finished the 90 minutes with a disjointed line-up that had four forwards, since they needed two goals to level the tie. After getting those goals through Rodrygo, they still had 30 minutes to play, so Ancelotti was asked how he organised the team for the extra period. But, he instead explained that it was mostly about mentality at that point, saying: “In extra time, the psychological part was the most important. So, we just wanted to control things well and defend well, because at that point we had the psychological advantage.”

Ancelotti on facing Liverpool

It’ll be Liverpool in the final, an opponent that conjures up many memories for the coach. He said: “I’m very happy to take part in another final. I’ve faced Liverpool in the final in 1984 as a player, then in 2005 and 2007 as a coach. I lived in Liverpool too. For me, the final will be like a derby because I’m still an Evertonian. Jurgen Klopp is a great coach and I have a lot of respect for him. I think it’ll be a fantastic final between two different kinds of teams.”