Sergio Ramos says he is not concerned about a possible meeting with Chelsea, and their former Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, in the Champions League semifinals.
Despite losing 2-0 at the Westfalenstadion on Tuesday night, Madrid progressed from their quarterfinal with Borussia Dortmund with a 3-2 aggregate victory on a night when Chelsea eliminated Paris Saint-Germain on away goals after a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge.
Ramos, who was reported to have a difficult relationship with Mourinho during the Portuguese’s final season in Madrid, told TVE after Tuesday’s game that he had no preference for who his side faced next in the competition.
“For us, [playing Chelsea] would be neither a good or a bad thing,” the Spain centre-back said. “We just worry about ourselves, and will wait on the draw. To win the Champions League, you must beat the best teams. Chelsea deserve to be in the semifinals.”
Ramos accepted that Madrid would have to reflect on the reasons for Tuesday evening’s shambolic first-half display, which recalled last year’s semifinal at Dortmund, when Madrid were beaten 4-1.
“It was a ground we knew perfectly well, but we did not play a good first half,” Ramos said. “They took advantage of that with their fans behind them, which is always a plus for them. We have progressed to the semifinals and must be happy with that, but also we must reflect on what happened in the first half. We know that if we came out with the same attitude in the second half, we were not going to make it to the semis.”
Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who made a string of saves as Dortmund pressed in the second half for a third goal to even up the tie, said he and his teammates had suffered badly through the game, which included an early missed penalty by Angel Di Maria.
“The first goal is an error from us and the second is after losing the ball in the centre of the park,” Casillas told TVE. “We had to have mental strength because at 2-0 down in the 37th minute a lot of things go through your head, and all this after missing a penalty. The positive thing is that we have learnt to suffer in these games and to know that we cannot make these errors in the semifinals.”
The club captain said this might be a useful wake-up call for Madrid ahead of the next stage.
“It was too much suffering, I think deserved,” Casillas said. “Maybe it is good to be reminded that nothing is easy in the Champions League. The errors at the back have made us suffer, but it is better it happened in this game than in the more decisive games coming in two weeks.”