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Wednesday 10. April 2024 - 15:08

'We failed' - Real Madrid players already know they didn't do enough against Man City

Real Madrid players Fede Valverde and Rodrygo admitted their frustration at drawing their Champions League quarter-final first leg vs Manchester City ahead of next week's return at the Etihad.

Real Madrid players felt like they had lost Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg against Manchester City, after conceding a 2-1 lead to draw 3-3 in a thriller at the Bernabeu.

Real fell behind in the second minute as a lazy set up at a City free-kick allowed Bernardo Silva to catch goalkeeper Andriy Lunin unawares from 40 yards. Eduardo Camavinga and Rodrygo turned the tie on its head shortly after to put Real in control, but two quick goals for City just after the hour mark gave the visitors the advantage instead.

Fede Valverde's brilliant volley levelled the tie going into the second leg, but the Uruguayan admitted after the game that the result felt like a defeat - because he knows 'what happened last year'.

After a 1-1 draw in last season's semi-final first leg at the Bernabeu, Real were blown away at the Etihad as City tore them apart in a 4-0 masterclass in the second leg. Valverde was among the players commenting on how the Etihad atmosphere was the most hostile he has ever played in, and manager Carlo Ancelotti has criticised his players' attitude in that game ahead of this year's quarter-final meeting.

"We wanted the victory and the draw, just as it happened last year, it tastes like a defeat, but we have to continue," Valverde said at full-time on Tuesday.

After turning the 1-0 deficit around within 15 minutes, Valverde believes Real took their foot off the gas in the second half - although Phil Foden explained how City's tactics and possession-based approach tired the hosts and allowed spaces to open up.

"Afterwards, we didn't rest, we did that wrong... because we stopped pressing due to fatigue and that's when they score a goal," explained Valverde. "In the end they are a great team, they have very good players and they are lethal. It's no use thinking about last year. But if we go out with the same attitude as then, we won't pass. Let's use it as revenge, to be hungry."

Fellow goalscorer Rodrygo agreed. "We failed a little in attack and conceded goals that we shouldn't have," he admitted.

"We have a week to work, with a game in between. Let's go back. We knew it; that we had to close [down shots] earlier. Now there is not much left to say, nothing can be done. Correct and continue next week. Whoever fails the least [next week], will pass."

Manager Ancelotti was a little more optimistic over their second leg chances, but again pointed to Real's 'fatigue' in the second half that saw them relinquish control of the game. He said: "What we wanted was to get a small advantage, but we must leave satisfied because we compete. If we do it there [at the Etihad] too, something good can happen."

While City boss Pep Guardiola suggested he would look for a slightly less chaotic game next week, Ancelotti made it clear that Real will look to make the second leg as open as possible - saying as much six times in his post-match press conference.

Provided by: Frank Henriksen
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