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Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has said he is “very excited” to lead Los Blancos into yet another final ahead of Sunday’s Supercopa de Espana clash with Athletic Bilbao in Saudi Arabia.
LaLiga leaders advanced after a hard-fought 3-2 victory against Barcelona on Wednesday, when substitute Federico Valverde hit an extended winner.
Athletic beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 in the second semi-final on Thursday, and Ancelotti has admitted he will have to change his tactics for Marcelino’s men on Sunday.
“I am extremely happy to experience this period, I am very excited,” he told reporters at a news conference.
“Being back in a final again is special and even more so when it’s at the helm of Real Madrid. This team is used to that kind of game and these moments.”
The two teams met twice in December in LaLiga, where Madrid won both times, 1-0 at the Bernabeu and 2-1 at the San Mames.
“We have to analyze the opposition,” Ancelotti added. “We know each other very well because we have played twice in a month, once in Madrid and once in Bilbao. It will be a very hard fought match, just like the others were.
“Athletic has a number of qualities, including a solid defense, organization, top pace, quality of set pieces … We have to keep that in mind. Our approach will be different from the semi-final because Athletic has different qualities than Barcelona.”
5 – @realmadriden has won five matches in a row against Barcelona in all competitions for the second time ever, the first since the seven victories in a row between 1962 and 1965. Power.#ElClasico #SupercopaDeSpana pic.twitter.com/FwQNN7Cj2q
– OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 12, 2022
The former Chelsea and Everton manager also asked a question about his team’s style of play and he was keen to reject the idea that there is a defined approach that guarantees success.
“I respect everyone, every facet of football must be respected,” he added. “There is no magic approach that guarantees you will win. The perfect system does not exist.
“You don’t win every time because you play with the ball or on the disc. A game can also be won on set pieces. If we play defensively one day, that does not mean we are a defensive team. We have scored more goals than any other team in LaLiga. “
Ancelotti also had words of praise for Karim Benzema, who scored Madrid’s second Wednesday and has looted 23 goals in 26 appearances in all tournaments this season, as well as recording nine assists.
“He has not changed, he is as humble as ever,” said his manager.
“What has changed is how others see him. They look at him more as a leader. I think people look at him differently than they did six years ago.”