Ancelotti: “We are not considering a match to stop Haaland”


The Real Madrid coach, Carlo Ancelotti, has assured that they are not considering the first leg of the Champions League semifinals this Tuesday against Manchester City exclusively to “stop” the Norwegian Erling Haaland, but that they will try to “stop to a team that seems unstoppable”, and has indicated that “the physical aspect is not going to be the most important thing”.

“Haaland is a very dangerous player, he is showing impressive quality, especially in scoring goals. To speak only of Haaland is not to speak of a very complete team that plays football very well, that defends well, that attacks, that has ideas… We are not proposing a match to stop Haaland, but rather to stop a team that seems unstoppable. But we may have options to play an even and competitive match that we can win,” he declared at a press conference.

In this sense, he insisted that they are not focused on stopping a specific footballer, but on “stopping a team that is very dangerous with the ball.” “The defensive aspect has a very important relevance, but it is not that we are focused only on one player, because it would mean forgetting about others who are also very important and dangerous,” he said.

“If you defend well, at least it’s a draw. But this doesn’t mean we won’t attack, because we have the quality to attack. Let’s not forget that last year, in two games against City, we conceded five and scored six. Would he sign this this year? Yes, he would sign”, he added about the defensive aspect.

In addition, the Italian coach is clear that “the physical aspect is not going to be the most important thing tomorrow.” “We’ve had time to recover; obviously, my fatigue and Valverde’s are different,” he said between laughs after being asked about the Uruguayan’s words accusing his fatigue.

For this reason, he assured that the plan for this Tuesday is “to play a complete game”. “We must try to make the best of what we have on a physical level and on a motivational and technical level, taking into account that the decisive match is going to be the second leg. We want to take a small advantage tomorrow and see if we can achieve it”, he stated.

The Real Madrid coach clarified what he meant by ‘small advantage’. “A positive result for us. A small advantage is also feeling good in the game, not suffering too much. It’s not just a result problem. If you’re able to avoid problems you can have a small advantage. It’s a game that demands a lot from everyone , in a semifinal of a competition like this it is normal that they demand a lot from you,” he said.

In another order of things, he considers that they arrive “at the same level” as in the 2022 tie. “It is difficult to evaluate the physical condition and compare it with that of last year. What counts at this moment is the motivation and illusion that we have The fact of winning the Copa del Rey is one more motivation for tomorrow’s game. We are very excited”, he stressed.

Regarding City, he believes that it is “a more complete team compared to last year.” “Last year they had a very dangerous striker, Gabriel Jesus, who has different characteristics from Haaland. Manchester City hasn’t changed his style; it may be that he plays a little more direct, takes more advantage of the long ball because he has a striker with a height very important; De Bruyne took advantage of the long ball and the second ball won. This does not mean that the team has changed its style. It is a very well organized team at the back, which handles the ball very well”, he analyzed.

He also revealed that the Croatian Luka Modric will start. “He can play without a problem. When Luka Modric is well, he plays. Tomorrow he will play”, he said, before answering the question of who will play in midfield. “It is clear: Modric and others”, he joked.

Besides, it spoke of the state of form of players like Vinícius or Rodrygo. “I have helped them by giving them minutes, having confidence in them. They are taking advantage of it and they are doing it very well, the progress they have, not only the two, is important for the future of this club. The evolution that Vinícius, Valverde, have had, Camavinga or Rodrygo makes us excited about the future. The future is tomorrow too”, he highlighted.

Lastly, Ancelotti analyzed the other semifinal tie between AC Milan and Inter Milan. “I was lucky enough to play a derby in a ‘Champions’ semifinal in 2003, it went well. There is a lot of pressure in this match, a lot, at a technical-tactical level it will be a very even match,” he concluded.