Paris Saint-Germain’s dominance in their 1-0 victory over Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League tie has led Carlo Ancelotti to a change of plan, with the Italian looking for his team to start increasing their pressure higher up the pitch.
Los Blancos were rather toothless on the night at the Parc des Princes, with the result looking slightly better due to the fact the away goals rule no longer applies. Failing to score away from home is now not the disaster it once was, yet Ancelotti was still irked by his team’s inability to put PSG under any sort of pressure.
A lack of intensity in the team’s pressing from the front was seen as a real problem, so the veteran coach is looking to rectify that before the return leg at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Ancelotti discussed the issue with his players and a number of them suggested pressing higher up the pitch, attempting to force teams into losing the ball in dangerous areas.
The counter-attacking style which has worked so well this season has now become less effective, with Los Merengues’ players feeling the physical wear of a protracted season at the top level.
“The story of this season was that we started with a very clear idea, to defend with 4-4-2,” Ancelotti declared in his pre-match press conference.
“With the loss against Espanyol, we tried to defend with a low block and it worked out well for us, winning 10 games in a row.
“But, after that, we’ve had more problems and we have thought about pressing higher now.”
The plan is to win the ball higher up the pitch so that both Karim Benzema and Vinicius receive the ball in more dangerous areas, have less ground to cover before shooting and will spend less time in possession.
Luka Modric will then have more opportunities to pass into dangerous areas if the ball is won high up the pitch, although it is a plan which requires more energy in midfield, so we could see Federico Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga reintroduced.