In a mammoth Champions League showdown in the Bernabeu, we stuck to our identity and maintained a defensive steel to come away with a creditable 1-1 draw, keeping us level with the Spanish giants at the top of Group H and in a great position to qualify for the knockout stages.
Raphael Varane turned Serge Aurier’s cross into his own net with Harry Kane in close proximity but Real levelled from the penalty spot through Cristiano Ronaldo just before half-time.
Goalkeeper and skipper Hugo Lloris kept us in it after the resumption with some magnificent saves while Harry and Christian Eriksen might have won it for us as we showed a willingness to get forward and cause problems for the hosts at every available opportunity.
“Always I tell the players it’s a game to enjoy – play, run, feel free, try to play because (when) you play in that level it’s our dream, always, from when we started three years ago, to play in the Champions League, against Real Madrid and in the Bernabeu. Football is about enjoying,” said Mauricio.
“Being brave is so important. If you want to win and if you want to increase your level, learn and improve, it’s so important to be brave.
“Of course, when you play you must keep your identity and compete. In the Champions League last season that disappointed us that we didn’t compete but in these three games (against Borussia Dortmund, APOEL and Real Madrid) I think the team is more mature and we don’t just play, we compete and that is most important.”
What are your emotions after the performance?
“I’m really proud and so happy. Everybody wanted to compete and show ourselves that we can compete at this level. I am so happy. The performance was fantastic. I congratulate everyone because it was very good and of course our fans were fantastic, unbelievable and (I say) thank you so much for the support and the help. It was unbelievable.”
We’re still level with Madrid at the top of Group H…
“A very good position. We are on seven points with Real Madrid. It’s fantastic. Our challenge is to reach the next stage and we are happy with the result. I’m very happy for our fans, for our team and the squad. I’m so, so happy.”