Real Madrid players Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric and Raphael Varane have all spoken of their optimism following their 2-1 win over Manchester United.
Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo both struck to ensure the Real’s place in the last eight of the Champions League, and Alonso was the first to praise his side for their resilience to come back from Sergio Ramos’ own goal.
But the Spanish playmaker conceded the controversial red card to Nani in the 55th minute definitely played a part in the result.
“It was a difficult decision for the referee to make, but we have seen many games that playing against 10 can get harder. We produced our best minutes after Nani’s sending off,” Alonso told Sky Sports.
“For 15-20 minutes we played really well. We scored two goals, and after that, credit to United because they pushed us really hard and it was difficult for us not to concede another goal.
“We were fighting, it was a make or break week for us, and it has gone fantastically well so far. Now we can look forward to watch the other games and wait for the draw.”
Modric, meanwhile, suggested Madrid were fully deserving of their two-legged triumph but was quick to avoid being drawn in on the ongoing controversy surrounding referee Cuneyt Cakir’s decision to send off Nani.
The former Tottenham star told BeIN Sport: “I’m happy with my goal but I’m even happier because we qualified. It was a tough game, but we showed great resolve to come back after we were chasing the match.
“I think that if you consider both games, we deserve to go through. To be really honest, I did not see Nani’s red card, but if the referee said so, we can’t oppose him.”
And while French defender Varane did admit the winger’s dismissal came as a surprise, he was more concerned with his own display on the night in the context of his recent rise to stardom.
“I wasn’t expecting a red card but it is part of the game. I don’t want to judge refereeing decisions,” he remarked.
“It’s been a good spell for me, and I’m trying to make the most of it and progress.”