Sports

‘Italian teams must learn from Madrid’s Champions League victory if…’ – Arrigo Sacchi

by Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor, Abuja

Ex-Italy and Milan coach Arrigo Sacchi said there are a lot Italian football teams need to learn from the 3-1 victory of Real Madrid over Manchester City in Wednesday’s Champions League match at the Santiago Bernebeu.

Sacchi, who spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport in an exclusive interview, praised the relentless spirit of Madrid players who never gave up but continued to fight for a win and eventually got it.

He acknowledged Carlos Ancelotti for being a genius by taking out experienced Casimero, Luka Modric, and Toni Kross for the young, promising players who have the zeal to excel.

Thanks to Ancelotti’s changes that paid off with inspirational Rodrygo lighting up the atmosphere at the Bernebeu with a brace.

Sacchi said, “Ancelotti won against City as he had done against PSG and Chelsea, with a comeback inspired by substitutions.

“He replaced some champions with youths that make enthusiasm their most important quality. He subbed off all the midfielders in the second half: Casemiro, Luka Modric, and Toni Kroos. Even Karim Benzema in extra time.

“He gambled on the freshness of Rodrygo, Marco Asensio, and Eduardo Camavinga. He turned the game around thanks to Rodrygo, who scored a decisive brace when Manchester City seemed to have secured a place in the Final.

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“Every goal came from pressing, possible thanks to the energy of young players and quick counter-attacks.

Sacchi opined that Italian teams must change their defensive mentality for an attacking type as Real Madrid did over Manchester City if they are to succeed in Europe.

“That’s what our teams must do to pursue success in Europe. Pressing gives courage and scares the opponents, forcing them to do something they can’t do well: defend.

‘Foreign clubs are much better attacking rather than defending. Manchester City proved it over the two legs. Therefore, we must press them to win. Unfortunately, every Italian club uses one or even two extra men at the back, often to man-mark just one opposing striker. Like this, they lose a man in midfield and miss the chance to dominate games,” the ex-Italian boss added.

The win against Manchester City makes it the fifth final Carlo Ancelotti has reached and could become the manager with the greatest number of Champions League titles if he triumphs over Liverpool to lift his fourth.

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