ISTANBUL (AFP) – Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho lauded the effort of Galatasaray after the Turkish champions beat his side 3-2 in the second-leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
Mourinho’s men still progressed to the semi-finals for the third consecutive season 5-3 on aggregate, but they were given a scare in Istanbul after Cristiano Ronaldo’s early strike seemed to have them cruising into the last four.
Second-half goals from Emmanuel Eboue, Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba put Galatasaray on the verge of a historic comeback, but after Alvaro Arbeloa’s red card had also seen the visitors reduced to 10 men, Ronaldo settled the tie in stoppage time with his second of the night.
And Mourinho believes the atmosphere at the Turk Telekom Arena inspired the hosts throughout.
“I would love to play every game in this stadium,” he told a press conference. Everyone wants to play in atmospheres like this, it is the perfect atmosphere for football. I don’t think my players have felt the atmosphere, it has been the Galatasaray players that have done so in a great second-half.
“I am not less pleased with my players, but happy for the players and fans of Galatasaray because if you are going to go out of the competition, you have to do it like this.”
Mourinho did accept though that his side lost control of the game for spells in the second period and only regained it once he introduced Raul Albiol to offer more defensive cover in the final 10 minutes.
“We lost control for a while, but once it went 3-1 and I put Albiol in central midfield, we managed to close off the spaces and make what could have been a dangerous final 10 minutes much calmer.”
Meanwhile, Galatasaray boss, Fatih Terim lamented not having scored in the 3-0 defeat last week at the Bernabeu and having top-scorer Burak Yilmaz suspended for the return-leg.
Yilmaz was shown a controversial yellow card when he appeared to have been felled inside the area by Sergio Ramos in the first-leg and Terim believes it could have been a different story with his top-scorer present.
“If we could have been able to play Burak it could have changed the result. In Spain we could have scored a goal and that would have made this match completely different.”
The former AC Milan boss also put his side’s remarkable recovery in the second-half down to added belief installed by his half-time team talk.
“I like to talk and change things. I took advantage of the half-time break to do all that I could. I said to my players that there is no team in the world they cannot beat and no tournament they cannot get to the final of.
“But this is the difference between scoring away from home or not. At the end of the game one of my players came up to me and said: “You were right.”