Jose Mourinho reflected that Real Madrid deserved to advance to the semi-finals, even if Galatasaray deserved victory on Tuesday evening.
The Turks threatened a dramatic turnaround in this Champions League quarter-final, when a three-goal flurry in the second half saw the aggregate score move from 0-4 to 3-4.
However, Cristiano Ronaldo’s late second goal settled things on the night 3-2 to Gala, 5-3 to Madrid on aggregate.
“For a few minutes the tie was wide open, despite the fact that it should have been finished with the 0-1 scoreline at halftime,” commented Mourinho post-match, in reference to a missed open goal from Ronaldo when the score was 0-1.
“When a team plays with this passion and emotion, instead of playing against 11, you’re playing against 50,000. In football everything is possible, we lost possession, they scored and then got better.
“When it went to 3-1, instead of making things more difficult, the team calmed down. We closed the open spaces that there were with tactical changes with Di Maria and Albiol.
“From there the match was under control, and we deserved to go through and Galatasaray deserved to win and show the pride of a big club with good players, a great Coach and great fans.
“When I was forced to make changes and change the structure of the team it was because I saw that the situation was difficult. We did not finish off the tie by scoring goals and had to do something.”
Mourinho continued to praise the atmosphere in Istanbul and Galatasaray’s efforts.
“I'm happy about qualifying. I would like to play at this ground every match, everyone wants to play in atmospheres like this, it is perfect for football and I do not think the Real Madrid players used it.
“The Galatasaray players did. They had a fantastic second half, played with pride and all that is good about football.
“We could have done better, but I'm happy for Galatasaray’s players and the Coach, who went out there in the best way possible. Congratulations to them for this match, which was fantastic.”
Yesterday’s result guarantees Madrid’s third consecutive appearance in the semi-finals of the Champions League.
“If being eliminated in the round of 16 was routine at Real Madrid, then I think there would be reason to be tough.
“We’re through to the semi-finals again, I know that this is not the aim, but we've done it three seasons in a row and I'm happy with the players.
“In the second half we could have done better, we didn’t play well as a team and left spaces. In the last 10 minutes we expected them to be dangerous and they weren’t.
“We regained control, which means that everything is good.
“The draw? It does not mean much because we will end up playing either Dortmund, or probably Barcelona or Bayern who are three of Europe’s top teams.
“They will be big matches to enjoy, go out and play and give everything.”
The Portuguese also commented on Malaga’s last-gasp elimination in Dortmund on the same evening.
“I have not seen the match but Malaga are worthy of all the praise they get. They have had a fantastic season in the Champions League and were seconds away from reaching the semi-finals.
“I think that there are similarities between playing in Dortmund and Istanbul, you don’t play against 11, you play against 50,011.
“They give everything right until the end, which happens in just a few places, here and in Dortmund, which is another of the best places to play football.
“The goal came from Santana, a centre-back, and it must have been an incredible match, like this would have been if it went 4-1, with a dramatic closing seconds.
This is a great competition and let’s see if the remaining quarter-final matches are similar and that people enjoy them.”
Mourinho was again asked about his future at Madrid.
“When the season ends I will sit down with those I have to sit down with, because besides being the President, he is my friend and is the legal and emotional representative of all Real Madrid fans. We will sit down quietly, President and Coach, two friends.”