MADRID | Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti feels that getting a mental advantage over Manchester City will be just as essential as the outcome when the two sides meet tonight at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.
Ancelotti claimed that overcoming Osasuna 2-1 to capture the Copa del Rey championship on Saturday had given his players a much-needed confidence boost as they prepare to meet Pep Guardiola’s excellent team.
While the Italian is aware that his team will have to be at their best to defeat City, he believes that obtaining an advantage over your opponent can occur both mentally and physically.
“We need to play a complete game tomorrow and be aware that the decisive match will be the second leg. So our aim is to travel to Manchester with a small advantage,” Ancelotti told a press conference on Monday.
“As for an advantage I mean it’s not only about the result, it’s attitude, the mental part of the game too.
“If you play well, give trouble to your rival, put them in an uncomfortable position, it’s a mental ad-vantage.
“The game of football is made of several layers and the mental part is a big one. We need to play well to bring the pressure to their side in the second leg.”
Ancelotti said that his side are not preparing a special plan to stop City striker Erling Haaland, although he praised the Norwegian’s stunning form and the spark he brings to City’s attack. Haaland set a Premier League scoring record last week when he netted his 35th league goal of the campaign.
“We are not preparing a match to stop a player, we are preparing to stop an entire team who looks unstoppable,” Ancelotti said.
“Manchester City didn’t change their style to accommodate Haaland, they have more options vertically with him using long balls and a more direct approach,” he said.