Angel Di Maria and Alvaro Morata celebrate a goal against Atletico Madrid, 5 January. Reuters
A sound gameplan and hard work were the deciding factors in Real Madrid's convincing win over Atletico Madrid in the Copa Del Rey semifinal first leg, according to Angel Di Maria.
Real planted a rather large foot in the final of the Copa De Rey with a resounding 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid, thanks to a couple of deflected efforts and another goal from the increasingly impressive Jese Rodriguez.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti said this performance at the Camp Nou had been his side's best performance since he took over from Jose Mourinho in the summer, and Di Maria revealed it was the result of plenty of strategic work done in training.
"We did a great job," Di Maria was quoted as saying by Real Madrid's official website. "We did what we've been working on in training -- pressing up front and giving one hundred percent.
"We are happy because we got the result that we wanted. We knew that their game is all about intensity and running, and we had to do the same or more than them. We did a great job and we still have to do a good job in their stadium."
While the tie might look over courtesy the massive advantage, Ancelotti, as is expected, urged his side to be cautious, insisting it will take another similar performance in the second leg at the Vicente Calderon next week to seal a place in the final, where they are likely to meet rivals Barcelona, who eased to a 2-0 first leg victory over Real Sociedad.
"The result is very good and the match was too, but we have to be careful," Ancelotti said. "We have to do the same in the second leg, but it will not be easy because Atletico Madrid will do their best to turn things around. We have to prepare well for the match, like we did for tonight's."
Atletico midfielder Koke admitted his side face a daunting task of trying to overhaul the 3-0 deficit in the second leg, but did promise the team would throw the kitchen sink and then some in an attempt to stay alive in the competition they won last season.
"We're annoyed," Koke told the club's official website. "We have not had much luck and have not done in the big game what we wanted to do. Madrid have had a great game and we're sad. There is a second leg, it is very difficult but there is always hope
"In football everything is possible. It is difficult, but we have to go back to the Calderon knowing that we are Atletico Madrid. We will try with all means to go for it and everyone deserves it. There's always hope."
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