Arsène Wenger

Why all the pressure is on Real Madrid in Lisbon

Arsene Wenger

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It’s quite amazing for two teams from the same town to be playing each other in the final of the Champions League. It’s unique! It means that half the city will be will be happy, and half of it will be sad at the end of the match.

But we football lovers, we only wish that we will see a nice match. All the ingredients are here. One team is more compact, relies more on defence, and the other team is more skilled, twirling and fast. But, ultimately, both are counter-attacking teams, and the first goal will set the tone for the rest of the final.

It’s a nice clash of styles. Diego Simeone’s team plays like him, with a lot of fighting spirit and aggressiveness, but also a lot of tactical discipline. He did a wonderful job with Atletico. Carlo Ancelotti too at Real.

The Italian has integrated well in the Spanish team. Ancelotti is able to well adapt anywhere because he has real human intelligence and he quickly understands how it will go.

I think he had a great season, as he does everywhere he goes. Real want to win this final so badly. If they lose it, they will be really disappointed. At the end, 12 months of hard work will be decided on details, and it’s a bit hard to accept it.

You have to forget the idea that the manager is responsible for the result of a final. As a manager, you control the quality of the work all year long. But the greatest players make the difference during matches.

An important match is quite easy to analyse: your goalkeeper has to save one or two dangerous shots, and one of your best players has to appear and make the difference. It’s as simple as that. If your goalkeeper does not have a good day, if your best player is having a bad day, you are much more likely to lose the final.

The outcome of the final will depend on big players. Naturally, all other players must play well too, but the difference will be made by these players. And it’s hard to bet on anything.

Atletico have managed their most important matches well in recent years: they were present in the Europa League, in the European Super Cup. The real pressure will be on Real.

Atletico will have the advantage of being the outsiders who are able to destroy their rivals. They are really good at this, and I was very impressed when they played against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The real question with Atletico is: how far will they be able to go physically? They don't have a lot of extra players and this team has given a lot.

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