Jose Mourinho believes he has ‘rediscovered Real Madrid’s DNA’ and forced journalists into a late re-write for the team’s win over Manchester City.
Late goals from Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo turned a potential 2-1 defeat into a late 3-2 win, providing the club with their 100th competition victory, an opening win in Group D and a happy Mourinho post-match.
“I have recovered my team and I hope that they don’t disappear. I have been proven right, because if you are able to play well against Barcelona and City then you can do so forever,” he told reporters straight after the game.
“I’m proud of my team, whatever the result. I felt that even when things were not going in the right direction.
“Real Madrid can lose games like tonight, fighting like animals, but not like how they did against Getafe and Sevilla. It was important to have a sense of what we wanted to be.”
Mourinho continued, talking of the players’ ability to change their mindset.
“The team has suffered. They conceded a goal and continued. They scored and continued… this is Real Madrid. That is what they are worth. I am nobody in the history of Real Madrid, but as Coach I have the right to say that Real Madrid wants this commitment. The club wants a high quality game and I do too. We had it in the past and we will have it again.
“Today it was difficult to play better than we had played. It’s a good win but I would have been just as happy if we had lost, because the DNA of the team was Real Madrid.
“This is its meaning. This is its position, to die on the field, no cheap philosophy. Now the players will go home tired, and that only previously happened against Barcelona.”
The Coach then reflected on tonight’s result and its importance in a competitive group.
“The group is very difficult and I do not think that we can repeat what we managed last season and get 18 points. Each point will be different. Manchester City had the mindset to draw.
“They were very defensive in the first half. I was prepared for that type of play. Then Mancini changed. They scored a goal and the game opened up. Khedira started moving and we ended up with Modric and Alonso. It was a very nice game for those who understand football.”
The Portuguese was asked of his decision to leave Sergio Ramos on the bench.
“I expected this question because I like stories, but it was purely a technical decision. I have had zero discipline problems with him, he is a great athlete.
“Ramos did not play because the Coach thought it was best not play him. We’re talking about a great player, fantastic, but I want to make it clear that I have no problems with him whatsoever. It was just purely sporting. I thought Pepe and Raphael Varane were better for the conditions to play.”
Mourinho then returned to the club’s ambition for the coming season, in light of their start.
“Real Madrid wants its 10th European Cup and we will fight for it. we have to go for all the titles. Then, if we end up with all of them or just the Supercopa, we have to have given everything in every game. Football is great when you leave everything on the field.”
Mourinho also had some words for the fans, and for the beaten side Manchester City.
“When a team is losing with five minutes to go then the people who encourage them have eyes to see and hearts to feel. Losing would have been an injustice. The crowd was fantastic.
“No I don't have sympathy [for City], that’s football and we deserved to win. If I felt we did not I would feel for them but we played a better match from the first minute and deserved it totally.”
The tactician finished with some words for the reporters.
“I was expecting criticism from around the world. I had left out Ramos, I had left out the creative players, Higuain has no history of scoring goals in the Champions League, Coentrao was a cooler option than Marcelo… I was prepared.
“I have a hacker who told me what had been written. Some reporters had everything ready and now they have had to drop what they had written. That has forced them to open the computer again and work a little harder.”