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Oct 4, 2012

Mourinho: Still room for improvement

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said he was mostly content with how his side had performed after they beat Ajax 4-1 at the Amsterdam Arena on Wednesday.

• Blog: Benzema quietly comes of age
• Blog: Kaka back to his best at Ajax

Another Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick and Karim Benzema's bicycle kick sealed a second consecutive Champions League Group D win for Madrid, although a Niklas Moisander header and inspired goalkeeping display from Kenneth Vermeer had kept the home side in the game until the final quarter.

Madrid played well against an unexpectedly defensive Ajax, Mourinho said - but he insisted there was still room for improvement.

"I liked Madrid a lot for 75 minutes, the first 45 and the second half after Ajax's goal," he told reporters. "We had total control of the game against an opponent far from their philosophy, defensive, with their lines very deep.

"With their goal, we lost control and the game became dangerous. Then we scored the third and they knew they game was over."

The Portuguese praised the performance of Sergio Ramos, who he said had reacted well to being dropped recently. "For me, he played very well," he said.

"My job is to get a performance out of my players. He has played three very, very good games since being on the bench against Manchester City."

Ronaldo was also happy after his second hat-trick in four days, but said the win was the most important thing and would give Madrid further confidence ahead of the Clasico at Barcelona on Sunday.

"It is important for me to score goals, but the most important thing is the team." Ronaldo said. "[Barcelona] will be a difficult game, but I believe we are playing well and are confident we can get a good result.

"They have a very good squad and there is not much difference between the teams, but we have confidence."

Midfielder Xabi Alonso said the 1-1 draw between Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund in Wednesday's other Group D game had been a positive for Real.

"The City-Dortmund draw is a good result for us," Alonso explained. "Having won the first two matches, we are in a good position. Our first two matches have been very competitive, we have played well and we have felt good in them."

Mourinho made a number of changes for the game, including giving Brazilian playmaker Kaka his first start of the season.

"I am pleased I played in this match, I am happy with it," Kaka said. "This is the path to follow and, bit by bit, the work is paying off. I just want to help the team.

"This 4-1 win shows that everything is going well, that there are no problems with the players or the coach, and that we are all united."

Ramos, who returned to his favoured position of centre-back, said that whatever issues there had been between him and Mourinho were history. "That subject is completely resolved," the Spanish international said. "I am back feeling completely happy.

"Now we have to put together a run of wins. The aim for the team is to keep this dynamic going."

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