Carlo Ancelotti knows Real Madrid must produce a “complete” performance against Manchester City to reach the Champions League final, as he confirmed David Alaba is out of the second leg.
Madrid were beaten 4-3 by Premier League leaders City in a thrilling first leg at the Etihad Stadium last week.
Los Blancos responded to that defeat by thrashing Espanyol 4-0 on Saturday to win their 35th LaLiga title in style.
Ancelotti, who is the first coach to have triumphed across all of Europe’s big five leagues and has stated that Madrid will be the last club he coaches, believes his side have a great chance to overturn a deficit when they face Pep Guardiola’s side at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday if they are their very best.
The wily Madrid boss told reports on the eve of the match: “The game has to be complete. The low block has to be better than the first leg, the pressure has to be well done to avoid passes between lines and transitions.
“We are not going to propose a game with a low block, that’s for sure, but at some moments of the game it will be. The game has to be complete.”
According to Ancelotti, Madrid will be without Alaba due to a hamstring injury, despite the Austria defender having been named in the squad. However, he has faith in Nacho Fernandez to perform.
He said: “Alaba can’t play. I don’t have doubts, it will possibly be a long game too but it’s not so important who starts as it is who finishes it.
“The defence system is the same. Alaba is an important player but Nacho’s played very well this season. He’s experienced and I’m sure he’ll put on a good performance tomorrow.”
Another player who will start is Casemiro and Ancelotti expects the fit-again Brazil midfielder to make Los Blancos much more difficult to break down.
The Italian said: “His return is going to help us, it reinforces the defensive aspect, in which we have to improve, also in collective commitment, moving better as a block, being more compact
“We have worked on the defensive aspect. I think we will see improvement.”
Madrid have been crowned European champions a record 13 times, but Ancelotti believes that will count for nothing when they attempt to reach yet another final.
“History won’t have an impact tomorrow,” he said: “It will be different, each game has its own history. They have an edge and we are aware of it.
“We have to do our best. It will be a tough game but we’ve got an incredible opportunity to play another Champions League final and we’ve already won the league, so the atmosphere will be good and it’s something we can pull off.”