KEIR RADNEDGE in LISBON: Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti had a surprise, but welcome, interruption as he faced the media after the 4-1 extra-time defeat of Atletico de Madrid.
Just as Ancelotti was about to offer an insight into his seventh Champions League final as coach or player he was drowned out by a champagne-spraying bunch of his own happy players.
Once they had headed off to the dressing room and the tumult had died down, the Italian who has been in charge of Madrid less than a year said: “I’m extremely happy because we managed a title that, for Real Madrid, is very important. We’ve all been working hard towards it all season so we all feel very proud.
“Personally I also feel very happy because happiness is giving happiness to those who follow us day in, day out.”
Ancelotti conceded that “we suffered a lot” to equalise in stoppage time at the end of normal time.
He said: “We couldn’t find any spaces because Atletico defended very well. But we tried to the very last, in every way possible and then the game changed completely because the goal gave us a lot of strength.”
Asked about his instructions to the team during the game, Ancelotti said: “At the end of the first half I said we had to move the ball quicker into attack and, in extra time, I told the players to keep on attacking because I could see we created problems for them once we had tied the game.”
Before the final speculation had arisen that defeat would see Ancelotti’s reign at the Estadio Bernabeu ended after only one season by demanding president Florentino Perez. That can now be discounted.
Ancelotti, whose third triumph as a coach equalled the record of Liverpool’s Bob Paisley, said: “After the end the president gave me a big hug and said: ‘Congratulations!’ I can tell you he was extremely pleased.
“But from the first day I went to the Bernabeu, in the trophy room, I said to him: ‘There’s one cup missing here, the 10th, let’s try to get it this year – and we did.
“But to win such a cup as this one requires hard work from everyone so I want to thank the players and the club which made a fantastic effort by getting some important players and always supporting the team and myself.
“I’ve felt a lot of trust deposited in me so I think that helped us to stay calm – the tranquility we needed to win the big games.”
Asked to compare this victory with 2005, when he was coach of Milan side beaten so dramatically by Liverpool, Ancelotti answered simply: “That is very easy. There we lost. Here we won.”
“All finals are very difficult and this one was no different. In fact, the whole season was very complicated because, first, we had to change the style of the team but the players were always willing to do this and have just demonstrated that in whatever I asked of them.
“For example, Marcelo was not happy at not starting the final but then, when he did come on, he was one of the most decisive players and we have won the most important competition in the world.
“After our semi-final win over Bayern perhaps our results were not as good as they might have been but the players have done fantastic work all year long.
“I congratulated [Atletico coach] Diego Simeone at the end for the game and for winning the Spanish league. You have to respect the team that doesn’t win after fighting all the way. But I think, in the end, we deserved to win.”