Gareth Bale believes Real Madrid have learnt the lessons of their Champions League scare at Wolfsburg.
Madrid face Manchester City in the first leg of their semi-final on Tuesday – a stage it looked like Zinedine Zidane’s men might struggle to reach.
They went down 2-0 against the Bundesliga side in the first instalment of their quarter-final, only for a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick to stunningly turn the tie on its head.
Bale scored a brace as Madrid completed the same feat within 90 minutes at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday and, ahead of another away first leg, he reported a cautious confidence among Zidane’s squad.
He told a pre-match news conference: “I think we’re feeling confident at the moment.
“We had not a great performance away to Wolfsburg but that’s something we’ve learnt from, something we’ve corrected.
“I think we have to go out and play our own game and try and impose ourselves on the other team. We’ll go into the game confident and trying to win it.”
Tuesday’s match is set to be former Tottenham favourite Bale’s first on English soil since leaving the Premier League for the Spanish capital in 2013.
Aside from the unseasonably cold April weather in Manchester, the Wales international said he was glad to be back but refused to attach any particular significance to his return.
“I don’t feel like I have a point to prove. I’ve played long enough now to be okay about that,” he said.
“Obviously we want to stamp our authority on the game and we want to win by as many goals as we can but we know it’s going to be a difficult game.
“The first legs are always a bit tense, a bit cagier, I suppose.
As Ronaldo rested a calf strain and after striker Karim Benzema limped off, Bale thrillingly led Madrid’s weekend comeback.
However, after once again dismissing rumours of a rift between himself and Ronaldo, the forward refused to cast himself as a star.
“I think whenever I step on the pitch I try to do the best I can,” he explained. “No matter who is on the pitch we all want to work together as a team.
“For us, that’s the most important thing. We attack together, we defend together.
“Whoever gets the goals, whoever wins the game, if we keep clean sheets – it’s for all of us to celebrate.”
City won their first league title for 44 years in Bale’s penultimate season at Tottenham
and the 26-year-old is slightly surprised by the rate of their progress to a maiden Champions League semi-final.
“If anything I’m surprised they haven’t got here earlier,” he added. “They’re obviously a club who have progressed a lot over the years and have really become a force in the Premier League. They’re starting to in Europe now.
“They’ve done well up until this moment and hopefully now we can stop them.”