Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti admits nerves ahead of Man City clash

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti admits nerves ahead of Man City clash

Veteran Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has disclosed that he is "very nervous" ahead of his side's Champions League clash with Manchester City.

The record 14-time winners host the current holders in the first leg of their quarter-final tie at the Bernabeu on Tuesday.

It is the third season in succession the two clubs have met in the knockout stages, with Real claiming a remarkable comeback victory in the 2022 semi-finals but City avenging that loss in emphatic fashion 12 months later.

The game will be Ancelotti's 200th as manager in a competition he has won a record four times, but he recognises it will not be straightforward.

The Italian, whose side are eight points clear at the top of LaLiga, said at a press conference: "Yes, very nervous. The hours before a match are a time when you have to suffer.

"I was thinking the other day that defeat is suffering and victory is happiness, but it's not that way. Victory is relief.

"It's happiness if you win trophies, but an isolated victory is a relief.

"You're calmer and happier the days after, but suffering is part of your job. It's what keeps you alive. It's fuel for me."

The 64-year-old comes up against the manager perceived as the best of his generation in Pep Guardiola who, after his two previous successes with Barcelona, now has three Champions League triumphs to his name.

Ancelotti insists he is not interested in comparisons.

He said: "Guardiola is a great coach, I don't care much about what they think of me. I care what my club thinks.

"But Guardiola is a great coach and there's no doubt about that."

Madrid took the lead in the first leg of last year's tie but City hit back to claim a draw before winning convincingly 4-0 in the return at the Etihad Stadium.

Ancelotti said: "We didn't play with courage and personality, which are fundamental aspects in this kind of game. We lacked that in the second leg.

"They put a lot of pressure on us up front and we didn't find alternative solutions. We want to avoid these things in this tie.

"I'm confident we're going to give our best. We have the quality to compete.

"We expect to be superior in some aspects and they will be superior in others."

Madrid are a different proposition this season following the signing of England midfielder Jude Bellingham, who has made a stunning impact in the Spanish capital.

Ancelotti said: "He's having a very good season in the penalty box.

"He's physically very strong and he's helping us a lot in the defensive aspects and up front, to create space and provide movement.

"He's very mature. He's only 20 years old but he's very professional, very serious and humble."

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