Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane acknowledged his side’s inferiority after they fell to defeat in the Champions League semi-final against Chelsea.
Goals from Timo Werner and Kai Havertz secured a 2-0 second-leg win for the Premier League team, who will now play Manchester City in an all-English final.
And there were no complaints from Zidane over the outcome.
“They deserved the victory,” he said. “We have tried but they’ve deserved it. We have to be proud to have come this far and to congratulate Chelsea.
“If my players have played it’s because they were ready for the 90 minutes. We lacked strength up front, but I’m very proud of my players. Today is a hard moment, but tomorrow we will work again thinking about the next game.”
Asked about the involvement of Sergio Ramos – back from a spell out with injury – and Ferland Mendy, Zidane added: “Ramos and Mendy were ready to play that’s why I put them on. It was a semi-final and they were ready.”
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Real Madrid’s players seemed equally willing to admit their shortcomings. Casemiro, giving his thoughts in the aftermath, insisted there were “no excuses”.
“We were good in the first 25 minutes but after that there’s no explanation,” the Brazilian midfielder said.
“They were better than us. They created more chances, had more of the ball. We have no excuses. Chelsea were superior.”
The Spaniards remain in contention for a second successive La Liga title, sitting just two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid with four games to play.
But a 14th Champions League win has eluded Real Madrid on this occasion.
“We tried in every way and now we have to fight for LaLiga,” said winger Vinicius Junior. “It is difficult to get up, but we have four games left to win something this season. We have to remain very focused.”
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