Real Madrid CF's Cristiano Ronaldo feels José Mourinho's influence is beginning to bear fruit at the Santiago Bernabéu after the Liga side ran out comfortable 2-0 winners over AC Milan in UEFA Champions League Group G.
Ronaldo's telling contribution against the Rossoneri – he scored a 13th-minute opener before setting up Mesut Özil for a second moments later – made the 25-year-old UEFA.com's Player Rater winner, a feat that added to his satisfaction on a memorable night for the Merengues. "I'm leaving here a happy man, not just for myself but for the entire team," the former Manchester United FC winger said.
"We are responding well and are full of confidence. The coach, of course, has a lot to do with that, as he has a lot of experience dealing with these types of games and I'm really happy working with him."
Since taking over from Manuel Pellegrini in the summer, Mourinho has steered his charges undefeated through their opening ten games in all competitions while gradually instilling ever more belief into his players. "Our training regime is getting results; Mourinho has worked a lot on that and we're extremely happy with him," the Portuguese international said.
"You can see we are strong both mentally and physically. There are times when you work hard but things still don't go your way, but now we are a solid unit and are combining well and when that happens the players who can make a difference come into their own."
Madrid lead Milan and AFC Ajax by five points at the top of the standings and are on course for the tournament's knockout stage. "What makes me satisfied is thinking that 75% of the work needed to get us into the next round is done," Ronaldo added. "But now we are top, we need to continue putting in the effort to get even further."
Milan goalkeeper Marco Amelia, meanwhile, cut a downcast figure after his Rossoneri debut ended in defeat. "Although we came here to achieve a good result we now have to forget about it and look ahead," said the former Genoa CFC custodian. "Whichever way you look at it we are Milan and we must remain strong. On paper both us and Madrid are still favourites to go through but Ajax are a tough young team and we know we will need to pick up points in all our remaining matches."
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.