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Carlo Ancelotti uses ‘Lionel Messi’ strategy to help Everton players prepare for Man City

Carlo Ancelotti says he has employed a similar pre-match technique he used on his Real Madrid players to help Everton prepare for the visit of Manchester City – don’t talk about their best players!

The Blues boss says he refused to talk about Lionel Messi ahead of games with Barcelona for fear of leaving his squad “scared”.

Ancelotti concedes Man City are playing in a manner which makes them appear “unbeatable” at present but has vowed to tackle tomorrow night’s game with a different strategy to the one he used in the league game last month, when Everton lost 3-1.

But he says one thing will never change, and that is his policy of talking about the opposition too much – especially when they are as good as City.

“When we played a lot of time when I was in Madrid against Messi – who was one of the best opponents – don’t talk about Messi to the players,” Ancelotti said.

“They are going to be scared. I try not to talk too much about Manchester City. Everyone knows the players and the quality of the individuals and the quality of the team. Focus on what you have to do. I am satisfied because this week it worked well. I don’t know if tomorrow we can show the same quality as in training, but I hope so.”

He added: “I think in this period from the start of the season until now we show some quality, maybe technical quality was sometimes good and not so good, but we showed spirit and won difficult games. For this type of game you have to show your quality and not try to defend the quality of the opponent. Show your own quality. If you focus on your game you don’t have to worry too much about your opponent.”

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Everton drew level in February’s league game but succumbed to two second-half goals at Goodison which allowed City to win the game comfortably.

Ancelotti, who will have Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Allan available for tomorrow’s FA Cup quarter-final after they missed the league game with City, says the team’s tactics will be different.

“It has to be different because in the league game,” he declared.

“It is true we competed but the fact that it is a knockout it will be a different thought about the game. We have prepared a different strategy and I hope this strategy is going to work.”

He concluded: “We have to be focused on what we want to do on the pitch and forget about the quality of Manchester City. Everyone knows. We have to be focused on ourselves and what we want to do, use a good attitude and a good spirit. It is a knockout, maybe the game will be 90 minutes long, maybe two hours and maybe it will go to penalties, you never know. “Man City feels unbeatable in this moment but in the history of football no team is unbeatable.”

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