Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois says the club’s big game experience could prove the difference in the Champions League semi-final second leg against Manchester City.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side take a 1-1 aggregate score to the Etihad next week after Kevin De Bruyne cancelled out Vinicius Jr’s opener.
City started brightly in the Spanish capital but Madrid scored against the run of play and started to dominate at the Bernabeu.
De Bruyne’s equaliser came during Madrid’s best passage of play and the Spaniards forced Ederson into a series of saves in the closing stages as they sought a winner.
City are favourites to progress, given they host the second leg.
But Courtois says Madrid’s experience could prove pivotal and they’ll treat the second leg like a final.
’It was a good game from both sides,’ said Courtois.
‘We defended a bit more. If you want to defend, you need to not give Haaland the space to run in to find those passes that Kevin, Bernardo and Gundogan can play easily.
‘We played well. As a consequence they will shoot more from distance. Rodri, Kevin shoot well with the ball. It was a good draw and everything to play for.
‘It will be like a final. I hope we can put that in our minds although it’s away, but I think we’re quite good at winning finals so I hope we can mentalise it like this, even though it’s in City.’
Madrid were forced to defend far more than usual in the opening 20 minutes and they conceded possession to City.
But Courtois says City mixed up their approach once Madrid came into the match by going long to Haaland.
‘City is a team that plays with possession,’ he said. ‘
‘But with Haaland, they play more direct football. Even when Ederson had the ball sometimes he passes really deep, today he didn’t do it. It was a different kind of game.
‘When they had the ball we dropped a bit down to give them space and they have the quality to play the ball around. I think sometimes when they recovered the ball we were too eager to pass too deep and we didn’t control our game because we are used to having more possession. They pressed well.
‘I think it was a good game, we had chances at the end, Ederson made two saves. It will be a fun game at City.’
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First appear at Thibaut Courtois claims Real Madrid have one major advantage over Manchester City