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Carlo Ancelotti claims Liverpool were easier Champions League opponents than Chelsea


Carlo Ancelotti masterminded Real Madrid’s incredible Champions League campaign (Picture: Getty)

Carlo Ancelotti claims Liverpool were the easiest team to prepare a gameplan for during the knockout stages of this season’s Champions League.

The Real Madrid manager etched his name further into the folklore of Europe’s premier club competition after masterminding the Spanish side’s improbable success that culminated in last night’s 1-0 win in Paris.

Despite owing their victory to man of the match, Thibaut Courtois, who pulled off a string of outstanding saves, Real ultimately deserved their victory and saved their most accomplished performance of the competition for the final.

Real Madrid celebrated their 14th Champions League title after beating Liverpool 1-0 in Paris (Picture: Getty)

Real’s run to Stade de France had previously been characterised by a series of miraculous acts of escapology against the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City.

Ancelotti, however, claimed Liverpool’s defined style, based around a 4-3-3 formation, their high defensive line and relentless pressing game made them straightforward opponents to counter.

‘Looking back, people said oh PSG were unlucky, Chelsea were unlucky, Manchester City were unlucky, this was practically the only game where people thought we were more or less on the same level,’ smiled Ancelotti in his post match press conference.

‘I think it helped that Liverpool were easier to decipher than the others, because they have a very clear identity and we could prepare the way that we did. We knew what strategy to take, don’t give them space behind the defence to run into.

‘Perhaps our football wasn’t extraordinarily beautiful tonight on an aesthetic level, but playing out from the back to incentivise their pressing wasn’t a great idea.

‘We had a few more long balls, then when their press in our half of the pitch lessened, we got to control the ball more especially in the second half.’

Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen, meanwhile, felt that despite the Spanish side’s triumph, the Reds still deserve to be regarded as the best team in Europe, a claim strongly refuted by his ex-international teammate Rio Ferdinand.

Ferdinand said: ‘I don’t think they are the best team, you’ve got to win the big trophies to be considered that. I think they are an unbelievably exciting team, their intensity, the points tally they’ve got this year, the consistency.

‘They’ve competed in every single game available to them but you’ve got to get your hands on the trophies to be called outright the best team in Europe.

‘I don’t think they can be considered that and that would be disrespectful to a team like Madrid who have done what they’ve done to the other best teams in Europe.

‘They beat all our top three teams in our league they got rid of them and got their hands on the trophy.’


MORE : Steven Gerrard and Rio Ferdinand stunned by Real Madrid hero Thibaut Courtois after Champions League final win


MORE : Dirk Kuyt says Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp have ‘failed’ after missing out on Champions League crown

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