Goal.com / Shinichiro Ema
Real Madrid assistant Aitor Karanka has hailed his side’s character following their 2-0 derby win over Atletico Madrid.
A stunning free kick from Cristiano Ronaldo and a second-half strike from Mesut Ozil settled a somewhat tepid affair at Santiago Bernabeu, and the former Blancos defender was delighted at the strength shown by the hosts against their city rivals.
Karanka told reporters at a press conference: “We believed it would be a tough game in the sense that Atletico came here with a lot of confidence. Everybody assumed that this would be the year [that Atletico would win the derby], but we showed personality.
“I think the stronger always win. Real Madrid already have strong character, and even more against a city rival that comes here in good form, so this has been a positive match.
“It was a game to please the fans after the defeat to Betis.”
Karanka was keen to praise to overall contribution of Ronaldo, adding that the Portugal star performed to his high all-round standards on Saturday night after a recent mini goal-drought.
“Cristiano has again scored a goal, got one assist and hit two shots against the crossbar. He is being his usual self,” said Karanka.
Karanka also moved to play down the confrontation between the coaching staff on the touchline during the match.
“Things happen on the bench. In a derby, everyone wants to press as they can,” he continued. “There are times that your first and his assistant coach are outside the technical area. German Burgos came to tell us something, but nothing remarkable.”
The match begun in controversial fashion as Jose Mourinho took to the field and appeared to encourage the home faithful to boo him, as they had done during the defeat to Real Betis.
Karanka maintained he and the team had not seen the incident, but insisted that the Blancos boss was not attempting to be confrontational towards the fans.
“We were in the locker room and we have not seen it. It was no challenge [against the fans], nothing against the public of Madrid,” he added.
“Image is what Mourinho is about, a coach who shows his face for the team, in the press and on the pitch and on the bench. He is a coach who never hides.”