Real coach salutes Barca, but confident about future
Real Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo has
hailed Barcelona as worthy champions but believes his side could have
beaten them to the league title if he had had more time at the helm.
"They deserved to win it," the Brazilian told sports daily Marca on
"There has been a lot of talk here about whether they have been given
the benefit of refereeing decisions and other things, but they've been a
great team and have been on top form throughout the season.
"We put them under a lot of pressure, but they never eased up and
although we amassed a lot of points they have deserved their victory."
Barcelona clinched their first league title in six years on Saturday
after they drew 1-1 at Levante, while Real were held 2-2 at Sevilla. The
results gave them an unassailable six-point lead at the top of the table
with two games left to play.
Even if the Catalans lose their remaining two matches they cannot be
caught because of their better head-to-head record in meetings between
the two teams this season.
Luxemburgo took over at Real at the end of last year with the club in
the midst of a crisis that had seen them slump to fifth place in the
league, 13 points behind Barcelona.
A 1-0 defeat at home to Sevilla prompted the club to sack previous boss
Mariano Garcia Remon who had taken charge of the team after Jose Antonio
Camacho had thrown in the towel just three games into the season.
Luxemburgo, who had recently led Santos to the Brazilian title, helped
spark an immediate upturn in Real's fortunes by masterminding their 2-1
win over Real Sociedad in the remaining six minutes of a match that had
been held over because of a bomb scare at the Bernabeu.
In the 19 games since that victory Real have made up a further four
points on Barcelona and Luxemburgo believes that if he had had a little
more time in charge of the side they could have deprived their
arch-rivals of the title.
"I'm very happy with the way the team has responded since I took over,"
he said. "But at the same time I'm sad because I didn't have time to win
the league... Now I hope to be able to be in charge for a complete
campaign and not just half a season.
"This is a very big club and I have no doubt that we can turn this team
into the champions and we are going to do it -- I'm sure of it."