Ancelotti targeting more Champions League glory
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti insisted his side’s focus is on retaining the Champions League not gaining revenge over Atletico Madrid when the two sides meet for a seventh time this season in the first leg of their quarter-final on Tuesday.
Ancelotti’s men have failed to beat Los Rojiblancos in all six previous meetings, drawing two and losing four, most notably in a 4-0 thrashing when they last met in February.
However, Real were the victors in last season’s Champions League final between the two and Ancelotti, who could become the first coach to win the Champions League four times, wants Los Blancos to be the first side to retain the trophy since the AC Milan side he played for in 1990.
“We are not obsessed with Atletico Madrid. We have the desire required for the Champions League quarter-finals,” the Italian said on Monday.
“It could take us to the semi-final, which is very close to the final. Then once you are in the final there are only two options; to win it or lose it.
“Therefore, our objective is not to beat Atletico Madrid, but to dream about winning the 11th European Cup.”
Ancelotti described Real’s humilation the last time they visited the Vicente Calderon as his worst game in charge of Madrid. However, the Real side that will take to the field on Tuesday will be much changed with five first-team regulars back from either injury or suspension.
“We come into the game in good shape. You can’t compare it to what happened in February. Everyone has recovered, the team is fresh and it is clear we can use a high tempo in the game.
“We can play with intensity and it will be vital to show courage and personality because they are two very important characteristics. This team has a lot of courage.”
And Ancelotti dismissed suggestions that his job is on the line should Real once again fail to overcome their more humble city neighbours.
“This game is only part of the season. Afterwards there will be other games and I think that the judgement of my work will come at the end of the season.”
Left-back Marcelo was one of those to miss the 4-0 thrashing and he insisted that Real can not allow themselves to be mentally affected by the six derbies they have failed to win this season.
“Atletico are a great team, they fight a lot, they are very intense and we are not thinking in the other games that we couldn’t win,” said the Brazilian international.
“I think it is completely different now and we have two games to show that we can win.”
Ancelotti confirmed that Gareth Bale is 100 percent fit to take his place in the starting line-up after missing Saturday’s 3-0 win over Eibar, whilst James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos return from suspension meaning Isco is likely to miss out.
The only doubt in Ancelotti’s starting line-up is at centre-back where the former Chelsea boss has to choose between the fit again Pepe and Raphael Varane to partner Sergio Ramos.
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