Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo said his side were deserved Spanish Supercopa champions after their pulsating 2-1 win over arch-rivals Barcelona in Wednesday night's second leg at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Quick-fire goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Ronaldo, and a red card for Barcelona's Adriano Correia, saw Madrid take an early grip on the tie but when Lionel Messi curled in a free-kick Real had to hold on to claim the trophy on away goals (4-4 aggregate).
"We began the game very well," said Ronaldo. "We scored two goals in the first 20 minutes, the team had a lot of confidence and you could see that. We played very well and had many chances. In the second half maybe we lowered our performance a little because of tiredness, but we are deserved winners of the Supercopa. This will give us more confidence for the future."
Madrid manager Jose Mourinho, who had been very angry with his team after their 2-1 La Liga loss at Getafe on Sunday, was smiling at the final whistle, but decided against speaking to the press afterwards.
Instead, it was left to Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka to tell reporters that the players had responded to their boss's criticism. "From the very start we went out to win the game," said Karanka. "If we scored all our chances in the first half the result would have been different, but the most important thing is we won the trophy."
The night also went well for Madrid's new signing Luka Modric, who made a late substitute appearance just two days after completing his €37 million move from Tottenham Hotspur, and duly picked up his first medal as a Real player. "I am very happy," Modric said. "I could not have begun any better. I want to thank the fans, who were marvellous. My teammates and I understood each other very well."
Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova did not deny that his side's defending had been poor in the early stages, but preferred to dwell on how well his team had played with only ten men in the second half.
"First of all I would like to congratulate Madrid on the title," Vilanova said. "The first half was not like us, two long balls and they got two goals. But in the second half we created five clear chances. We played with ten men, at this stage of the season, and we controlled the game, so we are proud. This game will not mark our season, on Sunday we have La Liga again."
Barca playmaker Xavi Hernandez said the loss of right-back Dani Alves to an injury in the warm-up was not an excuse for his side's poor first-half defending. "There are no excuses," said Xavi. "We began cold and we paid for it with two early errors. We were down to ten men but we had a lot of the ball. Now we must congratulate Madrid and move on."