Carlo Ancelotti believes Real Madrid's record 13 European Cup wins is a "positive burden" for his players as they face Manchester City in the Champions League semi-final first leg on Tuesday night.
Real last won the competition in 2018, sealing a third consecutive triumph, while Ancelotti was the head coach who guided the club to their 10th success in 2014. Although the Italian said he and his team are happy to have reached the last four, the 62-year-old manager stated success in the competition for Real is to be in the final.
"I think the history that Real Madrid has in this competition counts for a lot, more for us than opponents," Ancelotti said. "This history that has grown helps our players to feel the weight of the shirt but it's a positive burden and responsibility to have that.
“For Real Madrid, it’s not a success to get to the semi-final, we feel it’s a success to get to the final. Normally, if Real Madrid get to the final, there is more of a possibility to win it.”
Real, who have knocked out Chelsea, the holders, and Paris Saint-Germain in the past two rounds, last played last Wednesday. City also played then and have played against since - the 5-1 victory against Watford on Saturday. Ancelotti is unsure if this will aid his side. "It is difficult to say but I think the players in this period (of football) are used to playing every three days," he said.
“There’s more risk of injuries (playing every three days like City are) but to recover from one game to another (every few days), the players are used to doing that and it will be no problem. So I don’t think we can take advantage of this.”
Ancelotti is sure that City will prove a tough test at the Etihad Stadium, before the return at the Bernabéu next week. "We need to play well. I think the fact the away goal rule has changed, means it will be a more open tie," he said.
“We have to play for 180 minutes and in this type of game, there’s a mix of happiness and joy, because you’ve managed to get so close to the final in the most important competition in the world and that worry of playing against such a strong team.
“We have had really tough games, against all the teams who were favourites in this competition and it’s gone well for us. We will fight again tomorrow.” – Guardian