Jose Mourinho has explained further his initial post-match statement that Real Madrid did not deserve to defeat Manchester United.
Los Blancos are in the Champions League quarter-finals after securing a 2-1 win at Old Trafford for a 3-2 aggregate victory.
The game seemed to hinge on Luis Nani’s red card before the hour mark, as the visitors’ two goals came within the following 10 minutes.
“We are happy to go through, but I expected more from my team. The first half was a 0-0 between two teams that knew they were on the limit,” reflected Mourinho afterwards.
“The sending-off changed the match a bit, because it changed the flow. But then Manchester United, with 10, were better and created us problems. We were able to score two goals and hold on until the end.
“Modric was crucial because he changed the match and the sending-off also changed the match because they were left a man down.
“I know this stadium, the mentality and the culture and I knew that we would suffer until the end. Knowing [Sir Alex] Ferguson's style of leadership I knew that they were going to attempt the comeback late in the match.
“We wanted to control the match, but they won the midfield. Diego Lopez, like De Gea in the first leg for them, was our best player and got us the win.”
The Portuguese commented further on Diego Lopez’ performance in goal. In the second half he denied United on more than one occasion.
“Diego Lopez was great, the best player of the match. If your goalie is the best player, and even more playing with 11 against 10, it means with that you didn’t control the match like you should have, and there were players like Xabi, Khedira, Modric, Kaka…
“What frustrates me is that Diego Lopez should not be the best player playing against 10. We made changes to give more stability and hoped to have control of the match, but Diego still had to save what he saved.”
Luka Modric was brought on in the second half and scored Madrid’s first goal with a well-taken strike from outside the box.
“Manchester United had a great match in defence, were very well organised tactically and created us a lot of difficulties.
“Modric changed the match. He gave us creativity and movement. He was thinking about rapid, vertical movement and changed the flow of the match.
“They defended very well with 11 players, they took control in the first half. In the second half, I put on Modric and, when the equaliser came, was going to put on Benzema for Higuain.
“I was going to risk everything. I'm not saying that if it was 11 against 11 I would have done the same, but the reality of things is that against 10 there were moments of doubt and we helped those moments come about.
“We were also to blame for the difficulties that they caused us. History is full of teams who have gotten results with 10 men.”
Mourinho was sympathetic towards United for Nani’s red card.
“I think Ferguson was like I was a couple of years ago about Pepe’s sending off against Barcelona. Pepe's was worse because it was for simulation and this was for a hard contact that maybe could have been a yellow. The referee decided it was red.
“We played our match and Real Madrid cannot do anything about what happened. It is easy for me to say that today the best team lost. The first half today was a tactical battle.
“They began the second half by scoring and with the sending off and a player down they were like it was for us two years ago when we were killed off by Barcelona with one less.
“I am the first to shout, cry and complain. But we played with 10 in the semi-finals, not in the round of 16 or the quarters. I would say that the best team lost tonight. These things happen in football. We played well for 10 minutes after Kaka and Modric came on. They couldn’t deal with them and we clearly dominated the midfield. But then things changed and they made us suffer with 10 men.”