MADRID: Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said his team were full of confidence after reaching the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday.
The record 14-time champions of Europe beat Liverpool 1-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu, 6-2 on aggregate, to progress to the last eight.
Madrid are aiming to win the Champions League for the sixth time in 10 seasons and Ancelotti believes his team’s remarkable run to glory last season has given them a lot of confidence.
Los Blancos pulled off stunning comebacks against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City, before beating Liverpool in the final.
Even in the last 16 first-leg clash with Jurgen Klopp’s Reds, Madrid fell two goals behind before roaring to a 5-2 win.
“We have a lot more confidence, because of what happened last year, it gave us a lot of confidence,” Ancelotti told reporters.
“We saw that in this tie, against a strong team, we did well in the two games.
“But later, with confidence alone, we don’t reach the semi-finals. We have to play surprising football … as always, the Champions League is very complicated and we have to compete until the end.”
The coach hailed the blend of youth and experience in his squad, with veteran midfielders Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, and youngster Eduardo Camavinga, playing well together against Liverpool.
“The atmosphere is created by the players — the intelligence, humility and patience of the veterans,” said Ancelotti.
“The key is the humility of the veterans, they don’t have egos, and the patience of the youngsters because in front of them are players who have had fantastic careers and still are.
“Modric and Kroos aren’t playing because of the careers they have had, they are playing because they deserve it.”
Klopp praised Real Madrid’s mentality in big European games.
“They are used to handling it in the best way, and we will have to see if they can do it again this year,” said the Liverpool coach.
“Unfortunately we will have to watch these big games from a distance.
“I don’t know who will win it, to be honest. It will be interesting to watch.” — AFP