Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti was understandably more upbeat than Thomas Tuchel in his post-match press conference, but was also typically circumspect and classy.
After going 3-0 down on the night in Madrid, Ancelotti brought on Eduardo Camavinga, Rodrygo Goes and Marcelo, which ended up changing the course of the match. With ten minutes remaining, Luka Modric picked Rodrygo out for the aggregate equaliser, before Karim Benzema got the winner in extra time.
Ancelotti took the time to congratulate Villarreal and Unai Emery before getting into the nitty gritty of the match. Asked about the match on the whole, he said this to Diario AS.
“[There was] A lot of suffering, we were losing 2-0 without deserving to, the team did well. I suffered a lot. We didn’t have the hunger to score, we didn’t need to, but for me it was undeserved 2-0 deficit. We struggled a little, we were worried, then the 3-0 liberated the team and we gave it everything. Across the 120 minutes, I think we deserved it.”
When questioned on the key to victory, Ancelotti put it partly down to coming up with that extra yard in the dying moments.
“We won because we had the energy to keep the match alive. The changes were to add more energy. The team suffered a lot. Everyone showed up. The match was difficult, we knew that, but it was more complicated [than expected].”
“We suffered, but the more you suffer, the happier you are.”
Asked to give more depth on the reasoning behind his changes, Ancelotti allowed some insight into his mindset.
“I have to be calm, to evaluate what I must do. I put Camavinga and Rodrygo on to add more energy to the team. The effort that Chelsea put into pressing was significant and this gave us an advantage in extra time. The team was fresher.”
Real Madrid will face one of Manchester City or Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals, as they face off on Wednesday evening across town from the Santiago Bernabeu.