Carlo Ancelotti and Pepe say Real Madrid will have to be on their mettle in both ties against Juventus if they are to prolong the club’s dream of reaching the Champions League final for a second year running.
No stranger to Europe’s premier club competition after winning it twice with two different clubs, Ancelotti believes courage is the main ingredient required at this stage of the tournament.
And the tactician says his men will have to draw on all of this spirit to overcome a side he believes are fully deserved of their place on Europe’s top table.
Here is a summary of their thoughts from this evening’s press conference:
“If you play with courage, you win. If you show fear, you lose. That’s the Champions League and these are the semi-finals. Tomorrow will see two teams with different characteristics and players lock horns and each side will aim to impose their own qualities. Whoever manages to will have the best chance of winning.”
“Juventus here on merit”
“It will be a different game from the one we played against Atletico. In the quarter-finals we kept a lot of the ball and this is also a quality possessed by Juve, who are here because they deserve to be. It was a surprise to see them get this far, but that doesn’t mean they’re underdogs.”
“Hats off to Allegri”
“Allegri’s done a fine job and did well to introduce his ideas to a team who had already enjoyed great achievements. Juventus have gained greater experience over the past few years and will be full of confidence after winning the Scudetto last Sunday.”
“Keeping the dream alive”
“It’s not easy to win here, but we want to fulfill a dream of playing another final after lifting the trophy last season. We’ll do everything we can to get there.”
“He ain’t Pirlo, he’s my brother”
“I’ve heard that he said he views me as a father, well I see him as more of a brother! He said he’d leave Italy if he won the Champions League? Andrea’s a top class player and I hope he stays here next season, meaning Real would have a greater chance of winning this year.”
“Chicharito can play his part”
“Chicharito has contributed a great deal in recent games and being here is also down to him. Back three or four? Juventus are one of the few teams who have no issues in switching their system, but it makes little difference to us. We need to stick to our game plan and give our best, attacking and expressing all our quality on the field of play.”
“A tough test”
“We know how tough the game and the difficulty of playing here. We’ll be taking it extremely seriously as there are no favourites at this stage of the competition. It will be a tough match, characterised by the style of a typical Italian team, who will look to hurt us with their strikers. We remain confident though.”
“Quality up front”
“Tevez possesses plenty of quality, he never loses the ball and wins back plenty. He’s a fighter and it’s great to go up against top players like him, Llorente and Morata. It will be a pleasure to face Alvaro. He made his debut alongside me and I’ve got a great deal of time for him and his family. Tomorrow though will see our friendship put to one side.”