Real Madrid CF full-back Álvaro Arbeloa told UEFA.com the Merengues' second-half tactics proved the determining factor in beating Galatasaray AȘ 4-1 to clinch qualification as UEFA Champions League Group B winners. Visiting midfielder Felipe Melo, meanwhile, insisted Cimbom could overcome Juventus on 10 December to join the Spanish giants in the round of 16.
Álvaro Arbeloa, Madrid defender
I think we showed we are a team that are growing a lot. We found ourselves in a very difficult position being a man down and playing against a team that were keen to win. We showed our hunger and desire despite the fact we had practically qualified beforehand.
The changes the coach made at the break were very important. We adapted very well tactically. [Carlo Ancelotti] told us to press high up the pitch and not be afraid even though we were down to ten men. Being a man down just meant we had to run a little more. The team responded to those orders and things worked out for us.
I was happy to have scored after such a long time but the important thing at the end of the day was the team. We have to continue improving. We will look to win away to FC København [in our final group game] and then let's see who we get in the draw.
Ángel Di María, Madrid winger
I'm thrilled with the win. For the entire second half we played with ten men and the sacrifices we made were clear to see. We are top of the group and through to the next stage which is what we wanted. Sometimes you don't get to play and that's not good, but when you are picked you try to show that you are ready to help the team.
Our objective is to continue along this path while looking to improve further. We want to get as far as possible. We have great attacking players and when one doesn't play, another can come in as a replacement. Things are going really well and that's very important for our coach.
Nacho, Madrid defender
The whole group is happy to have achieved the goal of qualification and, above all, to have done it as group winners. We reacted well to being a man down. Álvaro Arbeloa played a great game and all of us congratulated him afterwards. We consider it very important that we are unbeaten in the UEFA Champions League. Tonight our performance changed in the second half because of our ambition which – despite being down to ten men – was spectacular.
Felipe Melo, Galatasaray midfielder
The defeat doesn't make things more complicated for us. Whether or not Madrid beat us, we were going to have to beat Juventus in the last game in order to get through. Everything will now be decided on home turf against Juve. What happened tonight in the second half was that we played against Real Madrid. Whether with one more player or one less, they are always Real Madrid. Beforehand, we said that any lapse in concentration would prove fatal. We had the game in our hands but with the errors we committed, they punished us. We have beaten Madrid in the past so why can't we now beat Juventus?
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