Carlo Ancelotti challenges players for Manchester City – ‘We played without personality and courage last year’

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has sent out stinging challenge to his players ahead of the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals against Manchester City, asking his team to show more personality than they did last year.

Following a 1-1 draw with City at the Santiago Bernabeu last year in the semi-finals, Los Blancos were thumped 4-0 in the return leg, and Ancelotti made it clear what he felt they lacked, when he was asked what they had learned.

“We played without courage and without personality. It is fundamental in these games. There was a lack of that in the return leg.”

He was also asked if Real Madrid lacked more than just personality, but rather ‘football’.

“Of course we lacked much more than just personality and courage. We didn’t manage things in the best way, it wasn’t just a lack of mental character, it was also that we lacked technical quality, they pressed us very high, and they sought us out, and we didn’t find alternative solutions to that. Obviously that’s something we want to improve this time round.”

This year the biggest change in the Real Madrid line-up has been the addition of Jude Bellingham in place of Karim Benzema, and the Italian coach was asked if they had more creativity this time round.

“We have different characteristics with the ball, we had Benzema last year, he was a reference, and now we don’t have him. We have handled this absence with more mobility on the attacking front. And that will be important, not fixing the forward positions.”

Ancelotti would go on to say that he would not ‘do anything strange’ regarding his line-up in defence, and had not told the players the line-up. The veteran coach was not thinking about the four players that are at risk of suspension in the second leg if they are booked either, namely, Aurelien Tchouameni, Jude Bellingham, Vinicius Junior and Eduardo Camavinga.

Los Blancos will be without Thibaut Courtois and David Alaba through injury, but Eder Militao is not expected to start tomorrow having only just returned from his anterior cruciate ligament injury. Ancelotti is likely to select from one of Tchouameni or Nacho Fernandez to partner Antonio Rudiger at the Santiago Bernabeu, if, as he says, he will avoid ‘strange things’.

Tags Carlo Ancelotti Champions League Manchester City Real Madrid
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