Real Madrid hammered 5 goals past Depor yesterday. This is what the press, the players and the manager had to say about it.
MARCA notes that Xabi Alonso, a player who starts nearly every game under Mourinho, finally received a rest for the better part of a game.
With an important week ahead – a European match against Ajax and the visit to Camp Nou – Mourinho saw fit to rest one footballer who has played everything: Xabi Alonso. He positioned Sami Khedira as the sole centre midfielder, with the quality pairing of Özil-Modric up front and the German player had a great game.
AS has expressed the feeling that Madrid are showing signs of improvement and not a moment too soon - one week before El Clásico and just before a Champions League visit to Ajax, away. Both of these games are considered must-wins, of course, with Madrid in the Group of Death in the group stages and already 8 points off the top of the domestic league table.
Our old friends at EL MUNDO DEPORTIVO note that Depor are hardly difficult opponents and that Madrid, although they conceded first, were never in any danger of losing the match, even with the absence of Xabi Alonso.
All newspapers, in every language, have placed some focus on Alonso's absence and how well the team did in spite of it. Xabi Alonso has always been recognized in the press as a vital cog in Madrid's midfield, and with reason. Madrid has generally played badly without him. As a result, Sami Khedira has come in for some considerable praise in the press this morning for his performance as the only holding midfielder until Alonso's appearance after the hour mark.
Aitor Karanka took questions post-match today. He had a number of things to say about the game, the team's reaction to the overwhelming scoreline and the personnel decisions made during the match.
It was a league match, it's three points and we will analyse it tomorrow, as with every match, and draw the necessary conclusions...We have the feeling that we need to concentrate on ourselves. To keep improving and growing and win the league matches that we have. We are thinking about Wednesday’s match and afterwards we will think about the Barcelona match.
On Özil and Modric:
What we want most and what is we most emphasise is team play. Khedira played in midfield with them and I think that he excelled. He had a great performance did a lot of defensive duties and I think he played a great match. [Replacing Özil at halftime was] a tactical change as were others in the second half and as [they are] in every match. Each change is for the best, for what the team needs...
Everyone is seeing the improvement in Kaká. We were the first to say that if he stayed, as last year, he would have matches to show what he has. When a player works as he does when they get these matches and these opportunities it is reflected on the field, which is what we all want. We want all players to be at 100%, which in the end is more difficult for us but it is the best for the team.
We played well in the first and second halves and we are deserved winners. We had to win this match to get more confidence. The most important thing is that all three goals helped the team to get the win. In every match I try to help more and more... We have to accept the coach’s decisions [on substitutions and the lineup] because he knows what to do for the best for the team. The season is very long and you have to make changes. They are all top players, with great quality. We have to stay focused and confident that we will play a good match against Ajax in the Champions League...
He appears to have been the only player to address the press after the match.