Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said the Copa del Rey final triumph over Barcelona shows his side can compete with their rivals and can come out on top in the clubs' forthcoming Champions League semi-final tie.
Mourinho picked up his first trophy as Real Madrid boss following a hard-fought 1-0 win, which saw his side ride their luck at times before edging out their fierce rivals thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's header in extra-time. Angel di Maria, who set up the goal for the Portuguese, was later sent off but Madrid held on to give Mourinho a first trophy in Spain.
"I am thrilled to win the Copa del Rey - it is something special," Mourinho said after the game. "It's a fantastic triumph against a great team like Barcelona - and we deserved it."
Mourinho's men were humbled by Barca in his first Clasico, a 5-0 drubbing at the Nou Camp in late December.
But a 1-1 draw at home to the Catalans in the Primera Division renewed optimism and Mourinho believes this triumph shows his team can match the Spanish champions.
"We can take them on over two games; we have just done that," he said. "There is no reason we can't beat them in the Champions League because we have just drawn once against them and then beaten them."
And the former Chelsea and Inter Milan coach says the Copa del Rey is just the beginning for this Madrid side.
"I came here to do a job and change the mentality of the club," he said. "We have started to do that and it's satisfying - but it's just the start."
Meanwhile, Zinedine Zidane, the last man to score a winning goal for Madrid in a cup final - during the 2002 Champions League final - echoed those sentiments.
"This is an important trophy because it's the first trophy in a long time and the club needed it," the Frenchman, now a special advisor at Madrid, told reporters after the game. "Now it will give us confidence for the games against Barcelona."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms