Carlo Ancelotti is happy to have proved the doubters wrong, but will not consider Real Madrid’s Champions League campaign a success until they reach the final.
The 13-time European champion was not counted among the favorites of the competition at the start of the season.
Since then they have come through a group that includes Italian champions Inter Milan, sending off the acclaimed Paris St Germain and last year’s winner Chelsea to reach the last four.
With the Spanish giants also on the cusp of retaking the LaLiga crown, they are in good shape as they face Manchester City for a place in Paris’ flagship show next month.
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Real coach Ancelotti, who returned to the club for a second time last summer after leaving Everton, said: “I remember what the press and the public said. There are two teams in the semi-final that nobody thought were here. were to come: Real Madrid and Villarreal.
“The favorites were PSG, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City.
“We are happy to be here and to compete. I always said that Real Madrid would join. We are going to fight and fight for one hundred percent.
“But for Real Madrid it is normally not a success to reach the semi-finals. We think it is a success to reach the final and that is the goal.”
Ancelotti spoke at a press conference at the Etihad Stadium ahead of Tuesday’s first leg against City.
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City manager Pep Guardiola has urged his side to ignore Real’s reputation and focus on the players on the pitch.
However, Ancelotti does not necessarily believe that Real’s historic status and prestige intimidate opponents. He feels it’s more something that inspires their own players.
He said: “I think the history that Real Madrid has in this competition counts for a lot. This history, which has grown in recent years, helps our players.
“Feeling the weight of the shirt is a positive burden. It is a positive responsibility to have that.”
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Ancelotti revealed he was considering playing three forwards to exploit City’s potential defensive vulnerabilities.
The hosts are without Joao Cancelo due to suspension, while John Stones and Kyle Walker are injured.
Ancelotti said: “I think it will go to the second game at the Bernabeu. We’re going to think about the line-up and see how it plays out. The debate I have to decide on is three or two strikers.”
Real have their own injury issues with David Alaba and Casemiro both of whom need to be assessed.