Real Madrid don't have a philosophy. So what?
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Real Madrid did not play sparkling football for most of their tie against Paris Saint-Germain. Carlo Ancelotti went into the first leg at the Parc des Princes aiming to sit deep and soak up pressure. Ideally, he wanted a clean sheet, but he was still happy to get back to the Bernabéu with Real still in the tie. They looked down and out, but he made proactive changes and his side miraculously turned it around. This was a tremendous performance in a lot of ways.
What it wasn't, though, was a victory for a particular brand of football and its tactical complexities.
Ancelotti wasn’t always like this. He started out as an ideologue in the mould of his mentor, Arrigo Sacchi, who pioneered a compact and high pressing system that heavily influenced the modern German style of play. But after convincing Parma not to sign Roberto Baggio for the sin of not fitting his system, he had a dramatic change of heart and realised that adapting to the players was the most important skill for him. “Baggio went to another club”, he recalled. “That year Baggio scored 25 [actually 22] goals – for Bologna! I lost 25 goals! Big mistake”. Ancelotti instead became the epitome of a different kind of Italian manager: one who tailors his approach to suit the surroundings.
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