Carlo Ancelotti highlights two advantages Real Madrid hold over Man City ahead of semi-final

The Italian feels his side’s history and freshness could help them in Tuesday’s Champions League first leg against Manchester City.

Carlo Ancelotti has said Real Madrid’s Champions League pedigree can help them in the competition, as they prepare to face Manchester City.

Los Blancos meet the Premier League champions in Tuesday’s semi-final first leg, and will be hoping to eliminate City over the two fixtures and then add to their enviable 13 European titles in next month’s Paris final.

On the other hand, Pep Guardiola’s men are aiming to win the trophy for the first time after finishing as runners up in last year’s competition.

The City boss spoke in Monday’s pre-match press conference about how the Sky Blues can’t compete with Real’s history and stature in the Champions League, and Ancelotti seemed to be in agreement, admitting that the Spaniards seem to have a knack when it comes to progressing in the competition.

Ancelotti spoke to the media on Monday evening. Credit: Getty.

“The history that Real Madrid has in this competition counts for a lot,” said the Italian ahead of Tuesday’s meeting. “More for us than the opposition.

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“This history that has grown helps our players to feel the weight of the shirt. It’s a positive burden and a positive responsibility to have that.”

“For Real Madrid, normally it is not a success to arrive at the semi-final,” he added. We want to get to the final, that would be a success so that’s the objective.”

Real Madrid trained at the Etihad ahead of the game. Credit: Getty.

Real should be fresher

City approach the game struggling for options and with a squad that look a little stretched in the midst of a heavy fixture schedule.

Meanwhile, Real haven’t played since last Wednesday and, with the league title all but sewn up, could rest players this weekend unlike City.

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Ancelotti seemed to imply this could give his side a small advantage ahead of the game, with Real’s players benefiting from a less strenuous April.

Madrid won’t have played a match in six days by the time they play in the first leg. Credit: Getty.

“It’s difficult to say, but I think the players and the [City] team are used to playing every three days. Really, I don’t know if it’s better to play every three days.

“Of course you have more risk of injuries, but to recover from one game to another, the [Real] players are really using this experience. If they [City] have injuries in this kind of game.. but I don’t think we can take advantage of this.”

Madrid ready to fight

Ancelotti also was asked about the challenges of playing City, widely regarded as one of the best teams in world football, over two legs.

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But the ex-Everton boss was keen to point out his side have faced tough opponents in the last-16 and quarter-finals of this year’s competition, when they eliminating Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea.

“We need to play well,” he said. “I think the fact the away goal rule has changed it will be more open.

“We need to play for 180 minutes and in this type of game there is a mix of happiness and joy because you’re so close to the final, in the most important competition in the world, but that worry of playing against such a strong team.

“In the Champions League we’ve had tough games in the quarter-finals and last-16. We’ve fought with them and it went well. We will fight tomorrow.

“The team, from the defensive aspect, if you’re not compact and you come here you will suffer,” Ancelotti added. “Tomorrow, we’ll see. The defensive aspect is important but after that there will be moments when City have the ball.

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“It’s simple, if they have the ball you can’t watch what they do, you have to try and win the ball back with high pressure, mid pressure or a low block. We have quality and there are no secrets in here.”