12 December 2012
José Mourinho appeared in the press room at the Balaídos Stadium to discuss the match in which he acknowledged that Celta deserved to win. "We are favourites to win the tie and I’d like to think that we will go through", said the coach, who called on the Whites’ fans to fill the Bernabéu on 9th January: "The second leg will be an exciting match in which we will have to turn around the tie and the fans will be looking forward to the match with excitement". Mourinho also praised Varane for his commitment: "He has a fantastic mentality and did his job even though he was injured".
The Portuguese coach did not take anything away from their opponents but believes that Real Madrid will win the tie: "I liked how Celta played and I think that they deserved to win the match. The result reflects what happened on the pitch, but perhaps they didn’t do enough to merit scoring twice and neither did we to merit scoring once. The most logical result would have been 1-0 and they scored the second goal without knowing how and forced us to react. They deserved to win the match, but I still think we are favourites to win the tie and I’d like to think that we will go through. There is no great drama, everything is still to be played for and we know they are a good team. I'd rather lose here today than to do it in the league because we can do something about this".
When asked about the comeback, Mourinho was upbeat and insisted that his team "are capable of winning. But I do not like to put percentages on these things. We do not have to thrash them, we just need to win. We do not have to make a historic comeback. We are capable of winning, but Celta are a good team and will use everything that they have at their disposal. I think that for our home fans it will be a more exciting match than if we had won here. It will be an exciting match in which we will have to turn around the tie and the fans will be looking forward to the match with excitement. We can win the tie".
The Real Madrid coach also spoke about the changes that were made, some of which were coaching decisions and Varane’s position in the closing stages of the match: "Varane was a champion because he was injured, he was injured and stayed on the field and did more than some players who were not injured. He has a fantastic mentality and did his job even though he was injured. He couldn’t sprint and could not play as a defender and he did well. It was my choice to leave Morata out, which is what I am here for, to make decisions, sometimes they are good decisions and sometimes they are bad. Today I decided wrong and he ought to have been on the bench. Essien was there to play 60 minutes and he did, but I changed him because we were losing and I wanted to change the team a little and bring on an attacking player". As for Benzema's injury, he was not sure as to the extent of the injury: "He has something wrong with his ankle, but I do not know what it is".
Finally, when asked if he was disappointed with any of his players in this match, the Real Madrid coach said he does not like to pick out individuals: "There are players who disappointed me, but I will not speak about anyone directly. I think that it would have been better if Morata was here, he still a little bit green but he has ambition, wants to give his best and is entitled to make a mistakes, instead I gave the chance to a player who did not want to be here and who maybe did not play this match because of the cold, because of the rain, because it was a cup match. I make the decisions and it is my responsibility. I think we saw the same match and you can criticise the coach and his decisions, but maybe it is not always only the coach who has to take responsibility. I take mine".