HomeFootball NewsReal Madrid v Manchester City: Ancelotti plays down Guardiola's injury woes

Real Madrid v Manchester City: Ancelotti plays down Guardiola’s injury woes

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Carlo Ancelotti has rubbished suggestions Manchester City’s defensive worries could hand Real Madrid a significant advantage in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tomorrow night.

Defending champions City are likely to be without three key players in Kyle Walker, Josko Gvardiol and Nathan Ake at the Santiago Bernabeu with the trio missing group training this morning.

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It could mean Rico Lewis starts at right-back with centre-half Manuel Akanji on the opposite side.

It is far from ideal for Pep Guardiola but his Madrid counterpart Ancelotti does not believe it makes his side’s task any easier.

He said: “Man City have a few players injured but I am sure they will manage this situation well, just as we did this season.

“Sometimes they had to make certain changes because of those injuries but they did a good job and those changes worked for them so I don’t think they will be affected.”

Walker has managed to keep Madrid dangerman Vinicius Jnr quiet on the numerous occasions the pair have clashed over previous seasons but Ancelotti feels there is still plenty of quality in the City ranks to compensate.

“There are a lot of players with quality in both teams, both squads, and that’s what will determine the outcome,” he added.

“We need to make sure we have a clear strategy and the players will need to be convinced this is the strategy to stick to, to execute it the way they need to.

“You have to give 100 per cent everywhere – up front, in defence, you need to be efficient, on the counter-attacks, you need to cope with every situation well.”

The game will see Jude Bellingham come up against several England colleagues and Ancelotti spoke glowingly of the 20-year-old’s maturity.

He said: “Jude has a fantastic [ability] to arrive in the box at the right time. He has scored a lot of goals and helped us a lot. Physically he is really strong.

“He is helping us a lot on the defensive aspect but he is doing a lot in front with his mobility and ability to create space and opportunities for us.

“The key point is that he is really mature – he is only 20 years old but he is mature for his age, really professional, really humble.

“We were not surprised [with him] as a player but as a person we were surprised in this sense – for his age, he is really, really mature.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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