News and opinions
18 September 2012
José Mourinho appeared in the press room at the Santiago Bernabéu after Real Madrid’s great comeback against Manchester City in a magical Champions League opener. The Portuguese coach was extremely pleased with the work of his players: "I'm proud of my team regardless of the result. This team has Real Madrid DNA. What it means is that it shows pride. To die on the field is not something easy to ask. Today the players have gone home tired. That has only happened on the day of the Barcelona matches." Additionally, the Whites coach praised the image that Real Madrid gave: "It is difficult to play better than we played today. The team has shown tremendous commitment and everyone is happy without exception." He told Madrid fans of their intentions in this competition: "Real Madrid wants to get the historic tenth title and we will fight for it."
The Real Madrid coach's first words were to praise his players for always believing that they could win: "I'm proud of my team whatever the result was. I felt that things were not going in the right direction. Real Madrid can lose matches like tonight, fighting like animals, but not playing like in Getafe and Seville. It was important to get that feeling that when they want to, they can".
Mourinho went on to stress that the team was able to change their mental state: "In Seville we had players who did not win a ball in ninety minutes. We did not win a rebound as a team and we just ended up tired after the match. Today was the opposite. The team was solid, compact, recovered balls and were committed as a team to play aggressively. We dominated and we won. City did not get a shot on goal in the first 45 minutes."
He stressed the spirit of his players, always believing in the win until the end: "The team suffered. Conceding a goal and keeping going. Scoring and keeping going ... that is Real Madrid. That's honourable. I am nobody in the history of Real Madrid. I have just arrived, but as a coach I have the right to say that the Real Madrid wants to see this commitment. They want more quality and so do I. We had it in the past and we will have it again. It is difficult to play better than we played today. There was a tremendous commitment from the team and everyone is happy. Not only to rediscover last year’s DNA but also to win a big match. We have three points and we have taken an important step towards qualifying from a tough group."
The Portuguese coach also spoke of how he sees the Champions League group tonight's opponent, what he expected and how they played: "The group is very difficult and I do not think we can do what we did last season with 18 points. Every point will be difficult. Manchester were thinking of getting a draw. They were very defensive in the first half. I was prepared for that type of play. Then Mancini changed things. They scored the goal and the game opened. Khedira started moving and I finished with Modric and Alonso. The result meant that decisions had to be made. It was a very nice match for football fans."
Talking about starting Varane instead of Sergio Ramos, the Portuguese explained that "Ramos did not play because the coach thought it best that he did not to play. We're talking about a player in the starting eleven, a great, but I want to make clear that I have no problems with him whatsoever. It's a purely football decision. I thought that Varane and Pepe were better together to play today."
About his happiness after Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal, Mourinho said it was a normal reaction considering the tension: "The celebration doesn’t matter, the match matters. People who love football enjoyed the match all over the world". He re-emphasised his team’s commitment tonight: "There were some people leaving the stadium at 2-1. I felt everyone very committed. I had the feeling that we could lose and sad for those people. Tomorrow they would be being influenced by journalists. But in the end my feeling has been that they understood the team’s commitment, because you can lose but you have to fight to the end. This is Real Madrid."
The Whites’ coach insisted that his players learned to how react in the difficult match against Manchester City: "We played well against Barcelona at home. We won the Super Cup by leaving everything out on the field and then happened what happened. Fifteen days for an international break, but I mean to say that you can lose matches playing like that. Not like we did in Seville and Getafe. Now all I worry about is the here and now. A team like Real Madrid cannot say that we won the Cup and that we are no longer interested winning or in the league ..."
Mourinho summed up the squad’s feelings and the goals that they have in mind for this season: "Real Madrid wants to win the historic tenth and we will fight for it. We have to go for all of the titles that we can. We’ll end up with them all or with the Super Cup, but you have to give everything in every match. Football is great when you leave everything on the field."
Finally, he indicated that he was prepared to fit any criticism for the starting eleven that he picked: "I expected criticism from all around the world. That Ramos was left out, that the creative players had been left out, that Higuaín does not have a goal scoring history in the Champions League, that Coentrão was more in better form that Marcelo ... I was prepared. I have a hacker who was ready before the match had started."