MADRID, Spain, April 4 – Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho was delighted with his side’s professionalism as they all but secured their place in the Champions League semi-finals with a 3-0 win over Galatasaray on Wednesday.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain got the goals for the hosts, but Mourinho was just as happy with the defensive side of their performance in the first leg of their quarter-final.
“The team played a serious and well-balanced game,” he said.
“We defended well and counter-attacked with danger. The players knew at this stage of the competition small details can define the games but we played very well.
“Higuain and Benzema scored a goal and this is good for their confidence.”
Indeed, with such a comfortable lead to take to Istanbul next week, the Portuguese admitted his biggest task will be to ensure his troops are not complacent.
“They need a miracle but there are miracles in football. So why can’t they dream of a miracle?
“I have enough experience to know we have a very good result and will try everything to convince my players that it is not over and try to play with the same mentality as tonight.”
Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso both picked up yellow cards in the second half that will see them miss the second leg, but Mourinho denied they had been pre-planned to ensure they would be free to play in the semi-finals and claimed their presence will be missed.
“They are important absences for the next game. Xabi and Ramos will play on Saturday when they weren’t going to do so, but it has complicated my plans for Istanbul.”
Galatasaray boss Fatih Terim meanwhile accepted there was a gulf in class between the sides, but claimed the Turkish champions had been very harshly treated when Norwegian referee Svein Oddvar Moen showed Burak Yilmaz a yellow card for diving rather than awarding a penalty when he was clipped by Ramos in the second half.
“Maybe the Real Madrid name affected Galatasaray and the referee didn’t have the courge to show a card when he had to,” he said.
“I think the referee made many mistakes, the whole stadium could see that Ramos stood on Burak’s foot.
“Many of our players have a lot of experience, it is hard to play in Real Madrid’s stadium in front of so many fans but the difference in quality between both teams is noticeable.”
The former AC Milan coach also lamented his side’s defending and inability to take their chances in what was a very open first half.
“At this level in these kind of matches you cannot make clear mistakes. The first and the second goals came from basic mistakes.
“Then with (Emmanuel) Eboue and (Didier) Drogba we couldn’t take two clear chances and if we had taken them then it would have been different.
“We would need a miracle to change things, but we will try in Istanbul to play well and win the match.”