Carlo Ancelotti sends simple three-word message ahead of Real Madrid’s clash against Liverpool
The former AC Milan manager knows better than anyone that Liverpool can turn a three-goal deficit around.
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Los Blancos pulled off an incredible comeback four weeks ago after going two goals down in the first 15 minutes to give themselves a seemingly unassailable lead heading into the reverse fixture.
Ancelotti’s side also won for the first time in the three La Liga games as they triumphed 3-1 over Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu over the weekend as Liverpool toiled on the South Coast.
Speaking ahead of the second leg, Ancelotti was quick to reaffirm his message to his players that the tie is not over, knowing all too well about comebacks after his side produced back-to-back comebacks against PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City in last year’s Champions League run to the final.
Plus, he was the victim of one of the greatest final comebacks in football history as his Milan side crumbled against a Steven Gerrard-led Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League final.
“The message is quite simple: not to assume,” said the Italian.
“The players understand that I think it will be an open match as Liverpool come here trying to change the dynamic.
“We have to do both things, attacking and defending, properly. We will not just defend, we are thinking about the attack.”
Defender Antonio Rudiger was part of the Chelsea side who were three goals up at the Bernabeu last season before a late Rodrygo goal saved Madrid from elimination after beating the London club 3-1 in the first leg.
He too was wary of the comeback threat that Liverpool possess: “They (Liverpool) have a good attacking team. They played against a big rival and scored seven so that tells me they rise up to big occasion and we need to be aware of that,” said the centre-back.
“But like my former coach (Thomas Tuchel) said when we played against Real Madrid, everyone knows Real Madrid are a very good counter-attacking team with Benzema and Vinicius and their abilities.
“My coach said you play against Real Madrid, you play against the badge and they always prove people right, that this badge is something bigger.”