Real Madrid must ‘defend better’ to keep final dream alive, warns Ancelotti

Real Madrid must ‘defend better’ to keep final dream alive, warns Ancelotti
The Spanish side trail by a single goal after Man City spurned a host of opportunities to increase their first-leg lead

Carlo Ancelotti believes Real Madrid will reach the Champions League final if they defend better than they did in their 4-3 defeat to Manchester City but warned that any repeat of their problems at the back at the Etihad Stadium will end their quest for a 14th European Cup.

Ancelotti felt Real remained “alive” in the semi-final after a show of spirit that mean that, even though they trailed 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2, their eventual deficit is only one goal.

“We are going to fight for another magical night,” Ancelotti pledged. “In the second game I think if we defend better we will win but if we defend like today we will be out of the competition.

“It is quite simple to define this game: we did well with the ball, without the ball we need to be much better. in an end-to-end game you need to defend better and that is really important.”

Real were two goals down after 11 minutes but Ancelotti praised them for showing the character to respond, adding: “My feeling is that we started really poorly in the game, we were too soft, we let in two goals and from there the team showed what they have showed in the last periods. We reacted really well. It is a defeat that leaves us alive in the second leg.”

Ancelotti praised Karim Benzema for having the confidence to score with a Panenka penalty, despite missing two spot-kicks in his previous game, at Osasuna last week.

The Frenchman took his tally to 41 goals for the season with a brace and Ancelotti said he never considered taking him off the penalties.

He said: “Karim had a fantastic game but he always does. He has had the personality to take the penalty in that way. It was a spectacular penalty to take in that manner. It is not easy in the semi-final of the Champions League to do a penalty like this.

“Definitely we never thought about changing the player that took the penalty. We knew he would take it. We trained a bit during this week. We didn’t know if he would take with his left or his right. The way he took it surprised me a bit.”