Ajax win delights Mourinho
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho praised his players for their professionalism as they rounded off their Champions League Group D campaign with a 3-0 win over Ajax in Amsterdam.
A brace from Jose Callejon, either side of a Gonzalo Higuain goal, proved enough for Los Blancos to post the only 100% record in the group phase, with top spot already assured prior to the match.
With the clasico against Barcelona looming on Saturday, Real could have therefore been forgiven for taking their eye off the ball slightly against Ajax, but Mourinho was delighted with the application of his team which featured a number of fringe players.
"I'm very happy with my players. They didn't kid around. They wanted to win and gave a serious performance,'' the Portuguese told the club's official website. "It isn't easy for footballers who don't play regularly to adapt to a game's pace.
"It is the first time Real Madrid have won their six games in the group stage. We've only lost one clash in 18, and that defeat happened under strange circumstances (at Levante on September 18). We're top seeders and await the draw, after which we'll be able to forget about the Champions League for a couple of months.''
Callejon opened the scoring in the 14th minute, finishing well from Kaka's assist. Higuain doubled their advantage four minutes before half-time after linking up well with Karim Benzema.
Ajax pushed forward in the second half fighting for their Champions League lives and were caught on the break in the second minute of injury time as Xabi Alonso fed Callejon, who provided the finish.
Mourinho was impressed by the performance of substitute Pedro Mendes and may give further opportunities to his youngsters in next Tuesday's Copa del Rey tie against Ponferradina.
The Portuguese sounded one note of caution, reminding his team that they were beaten 5-0 by Barcelona at the Nou Camp last November, six days after beating Ajax 4-0 in Amsterdam.
However, Real look better balanced this season and go into the match at the Bernabeu on Saturday night three points clear of Barca with a game in hand.
"If memory serves me well, last season we lost to Barcelona after facing Ajax,'' Mourinho recalled. "You never know in football; there are always surprises, but right now we feel more confident and tighter. We are a better team than last season.''