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Ancelotti: “There was a misunderstanding on Saturday when I said Rüdiger would start”

The coach clarified his comments in the pre-Manchester City press conference.

Real Madrid Press Conference - Etihad Stadium - Tuesday 16th May Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media in the press room of The Etihad on Tuesday evening and he started off by explaining that there was a misunderstanding during Saturday’s post-Getafe press conference, one that Managing Madrid explained in the moment right here.

The coach had stated “he’ll start” in response to a question about Rüdiger. But, as we explained at the time, many in the press room thought he’d misheard and was instead talking about Rodrygo. On Tuesday, Ancelotti confirmed that this was the case, stating: “It was a misunderstanding. I thought you were talking about Rodrygo then, not Rüdiger. I’m sorry and apologise, because I thought you were talking about Rodrygo. That said, Rüdiger could start, just like Militão or Alaba could.”

Ancelotti on starting Rodrygo

With that case of mistaken identity solved, this means Rodrygo is starting the second leg. The coach was asked why Rodrygo is playing right wing more than Fede Valverde, who was the starter there last year. To that, the Italian replied: “Playing Fede Valverde at right wing last year helped us win the Champions League, but playing these three forwards this year has got us to the semi-finals. I have the full line-up already clear in my mind.”

Ancelotti on whether he expects a game of transitions

Managing Madrid’s Kiyan Sobhani was in The Etihad press room on Tuesday and asked Ancelotti about Pep Guardiola’s comments, when the Manchester City boss said he felt an open game would suit City. Ancelotti responded: “In transition we are really strong and really dangerous. The first leg wasn’t a game of transition. Will it be a match of transitions tomorrow? I don’t think so.”

Ancelotti on how to stop Haaland

Discussing Erling Haaland, Ancelotti pointed out that Manchester City are much more than Haaland and also joked about how he knows he’ll feel nervous in the hours before the game. He said: “I know that I’ll be nervous tomorrow, thinking about Haaland and De Bruyne. But, you need to forget about those things and think positively. When we evaluate a team, we don’t evaluate just one player. If you try to stop Haaland, you can’t forget De Bruyne, Gundogan, Rodri, Mahrez, Bernardo Silva... We need to be strong defensively as a whole. It won’t be such a different game from the first leg. I think we can play better than we did in the first leg. I want my team to read the situations of the match well. We’ll suffer at points, which is normal in a match like this, but we also have to realise when our opponents are suffering. We’ll try to win the game as a collective and with our individuals.”

Ancelotti on Real Madrid’s Champions League success

Perhaps the most difficult question Ancelotti was asked in the press conference was when he was asked for the secret to Real Madrid’s Champions League success. He replied: “It’s not easy to explain, but personally I feel the Champions League is special for Real Madrid because of the history, because the club won the first six. It’s something very special and that makes a difference. The club does a good job of keeping this history alive. We don’t forget the players who made history at this club, such as Di Stéfano, Gento, Amancio, etc.”

Ancelotti on whether they’ve practiced penalties

The coach was asked if he has made the squad practice penalties, in case this game goes all the way to a shootout. To that, he said: “It could reach penalties, but it’s hard to train them. It’s a lot about the atmosphere. It’s impossible to practice a penalty shootout on a training pitch. We’re not thinking about that. We’re wanting to win before then.”

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