The Press Reaction
Mourinho's Madrid has an amazing 300 goals in 106 games. 3 goals per league game since he took over.
This stat comes at the end of Marca's write-up of the match and seems to fit rather well into the context of the piece. Santiago Segurola notes that perceptions of Madrid (he might also say, of Mourinho) are of a team that sits deep, defends, and is built to break at speed.
Against Levante Madrid scored 5 goals and they did it in every possible way. The game built slowly after the early concession, with Madrid showing incredible patience and using the ball to do it. Madrid had 36 shots, a season record - and against one of the best organized defences in La Liga. But they also had 74% of the possession. The sheer style of Higuain's scissored-volley off Alonso's beautiful pass into the area was merely a highlight of what Segurola termed a "refined" performance.
What was more, Madrid managed this with many changes to its starting 11:
Some Real supporters are under the impression that their team is designed for breakneck speed and to capitalise on the opponents' mistakes. They forget just how great their players are, who exude the class and talent required to win with brilliant performances, based on dominating possession and playing a passing game.
Creativity abounded with genius in all shapes and sizes, which only increased when the brilliant Özil came on with his amazing skill.
Aitor Karanka was very pleased with his player's contributions and the impressive scoreline of 5-1.
Perhaps the game could have opened up for us earlier than it did...at 2-1 we needed a third goal as they could have made problems for us on the break...with our quality players games tend to go in our favour. We had a lot of the ball...
Diego Lopez was looking ahead today after speaking with BWIN.
We must try to play as much as possible like in the first leg. They are a team who play well on the counter-attack, and they have very fast players up front who are always looking for depth. We have to keep calm in defence, keep everything tight and go for them.
It is a dream to be able to reach the final, and in the first leg we took an important step towards the semis, but there is a lot of work left to do. It is a difficult competition, and we know that at this club we are good in the Champions League, but it is a dream for everyone and I hope to be able to be there fighting for the trophy...
The team have touched down in Istanbul and are already in their hotel, with some players posting pictures of the view of the city on their social media. Mourinho brought his son along and the arrival was not as hot as had been expected: the players were received by 1000 fans who were not allowed to see their opponents. The police ferried the players out of an outlying terminal and Real Madrid have hired several security agents to see the team safely around the city.
In yesterday's most beautiful piece of news, French International Eric Abidal made his return for his club in Barcelona's win at the Camp Nou against Mallorca.
He was cleared recently to play by his doctors and his transplant and recovery against cancer appear to be going according to plan. With his coach also returning from cancer treatment in New York this past week it was an inspirational evening for the pair of them and for all fans of football.