Ancelotti defends Real Madrid style after Manchester City win

Carlo Ancelotti defended Real Madrid’s style of play in their penalty shootout win over Manchester City this week, and said he hasn’t met “a single fan” who was unhappy with their progression to the Champions League semifinals.

The LaLiga giants eliminated City on penalties on Wednesday after the tie had finished 4-4 on aggregate, with Pep Guardiola’s team dominating much of the second leg at the Etihad Stadium.

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Madrid will now face Bayern Munich in the semifinals — with the first leg on April 30 — but first have to contend with a top-of-the-table Clasico clash with Barcelona in LaLiga on Sunday.

“[Criticism] doesn’t surprise me. Everyone can have their opinion,” Ancelotti said in a news conference on Saturday.

“You have to do well with, and without, the ball. There are some games where you have the ball less than normal. We did very well for 90 minutes. I haven’t found a single sad fan of ours yet. Maybe they’ll turn up in the next few days!”

League leaders Madrid go into El Clasico eight points clear of Barça in second, and a win at the Bernabéu would likely all but end the title race.

“Right now we’re doing very well,” Ancelotti said. “The cake is ready, and we have to put the icing on it this month.”

Barça coach Xavi — who has often spoken of his preference for possession football — joined Ancelotti in praising Madrid’s display against City.

“You’re playing against the best team in the world in my opinion, which is City,” Xavi said in a news conference.

“Sometimes it isn’t what you want, it’s the opponents. It has happened to us, and even more so against Manchester City. [Madrid] had to defend, and they defended very well.

“Some people say [Madrid’s success] is luck. I don’t believe in luck. In the last three years, Madrid have twice eliminated City, the best team in the world for me. That’s who we’re competing against here in Spain.”

Barça were eliminated from the Champions League on Tuesday after a painful 4-1 home defeat to Paris Saint-Germain, having been two goals up in the tie.

Xavi was red carded in the second half, after kicking a cushion protecting a TV camera next to his technical area.

“I made a mistake with the sending off,” Xavi said.

“It was frustration. We didn’t minimize our mistakes. It’s a shame. We had a golden opportunity. There’s a lot of tension, and you see an injustice. The situation was favourable, and we let it go.”

The Barca coach denied there were any problems in the dressing room, after midfielder İlkay Gündoğan was critical of defender Ronald Araújo’s game-changing red card in the second leg against PSG.

“It’s all resolved. There’s no problem,” Xavi said. “When there’s no ill will, there’s no problem. It’s been dealt with.”