This was in truth, the hardest 'initial reactions' I've ever had to write. I usually start writing these around the 75th minute in order to have them up in time by the final whistle. So at 0-0, sitting with my laptop nervously with sweaty palms not knowing what the outcome will be, you can imagine how difficult it was to write. The struggle was real.
- Atletico are a dirty, dirty excuse of a football club. I can respect their defensive tactics, I can't respect their behaviour on the pitch. Raul Garcia was lucky not to see a straight red, and Arda Turan should've been sent off long before the final yellow / red - a horrific challenge on Sergio Ramos despite the innocence he pleaded. It feels great defeating them, especially when you consider our only two wins against them lately have been two wins that have knocked them out of the Champions League
- Atletico are really world-class at defending. Their defense is tremendously organized and compact. However, they are a mental wreck when they have the ball. Any sort of pressure on them when they have the ball deep usually results in a turnover from their team. Good on Carlo for taking advantage of this.
- Respect for Chicharito. The guy gets a lot of criticism spewed his way, but I never had a problem with him. He does what he can within his capacities, and he played admirably hard for that white shirt today. Too bad he didn't go down easier on that chance in the 2nd half, it was surely a penalty. Still, respect for Chicharito, you got us the winning goal mate.
- James was the best player in the team tonight for me. He gets better and better. He really enjoyed the room and usage rate without Modric and Bale.
- Carlo Ancelotti is a genius. Yeah, I don't buy all the hate he gets for the lack of rotations but I won't go into detail on that now, as I'm writing an article about it for Managing Madrid within the next week or so. He does an amazing job with what he has. The decision to move Ramos to midfield was a successful one, and I'm sure we'll see it in all the remaining big games.
- Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up tonight. Sure, he missed a couple chances, but overall he played well and gave the team what it needed. Nice assist to Chicha. He particularly played well in the first half.