Carlo Ancelotti hails reaction of 10-man Madrid
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti hailed the performance of his side as they qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday despite playing more than an hour with 10-men in a 4-1 win over Galatasaray.
Sergio Ramos was sent-off for the 17th time in his Madrid career after pulling down Umut Bulut as he raced through on goal midway through the first-half.
However, Madrid shrugged off the loss of the Spanish international as Gareth Bale fired in a wonderful free-kick to give the hosts the lead with his fifth goal in six games.
Bulut levelled a minute later for Galatasaray, but second-half strikes from Alvaro Arbeloa, Angel di Maria and Isco sealed a comfortable win for Madrid.
And Ancelotti was delighted with his side`s response, particularly as they were also missing the injured Cristiano Ronaldo.
"Things were complicated by Sergio`s red card, but I hope he is free to play in the last 16.
"I think we played very well in the second-half when we had a player less.
"We played with courage, personality and very well generally. To play with 10 men is not always easy, but all the players worked together.
"Without Cristiano it is quite different, but his absence motivates the rest to do more."
Real have now scored 26 goals in their last six games as they have found their best form since Ancelotti took charge and the Italian is keen to keep that run going until the winter break in just over three weeks time.
"Right now the team is in a very good moment. We are scoring a lot of goals, playing well and we need to continue like this.
"I am very happy and I can`t ask for any more."
Galatasaray boss Roberto Mancini was left with a very different feeling, though, as his side missed a huge change to further their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages with a insipid second-half display.
The Turkish champions now have to beat Juventus at home in their final group game if they are to make the last 16 and Mancini knows they will need to improve defensively if they are to stand any chance against his compatriots.
"We need to improve our defence, it is a big problem," he said.
"We prepared very well for this game. The first-half was perfect. I don`t know what happened in the second, I need to talk to the players to understand what happened.
"We didn`t give away any chances in the first-half and (at half-time) I was very confident because we played very well.
"Madrid was playing with 10, but their players are very good and if you concede opportunities like we did it`s very difficult to win."