Carlo Ancelotti has said his Real Madrid team came through a huge test last night after seeing off Atletico de Madrid to reach the semi-final of the Champions League.
A 88th minute goal from Javier Hernandez was enough for the holders to win 1-0 on the night and on aggregate as Los Blancos saw off their city rivals for the first time in eight games this season.
It was all the more impressive given the number of players missing from the side, including Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Marcelo.
Speaking to reporters at his press conference, the Italian stated: “Everything went well because the team were tuned in. I’m not taking anything away from Atlético. We were up against a very strong side that don’t give you chances. I have a lot of respect for this rival. The play very well defensively.
“That was a key game for the season, given all the pressure we were under against a very strong Atlético team that fought for every ball. We prepared well for this, we didn’t rush things but rather controlled the play. The first leg gave us the confidence we needed to control the game and patiently wait for our chance to score.”
Looking forward to the semi-finals, the Italian said every potential opponent will be a massive challenge again.
“We respect all of the three sides in the draw. Whatever happens, these teams deserve to be in the semi-finals. We’ll see what happens during the draw. As long as we show that same commitment, Real Madrid will have no problem competing against any team. Now our players have time to recover from injuries and things will improve. We can sort out the Bale and Benzema situations soon. We can’t give an exact date yet though.”