'Madrid want to finish the group as soon as possible' – Kroos targets early last-16 qualification

By Sports Desk October 05, 2022

Toni Kroos insists Real Madrid want to secure qualification for the Champions League knockout stages "as soon as possible" following victory over Shakhtar Donetsk.

The holders maintained their 100 per cent start in Group F with first-half goals from Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior sealing a 2-1 win at Santiago Bernabeu.

Despite converting just two of their 36 shots on goal, Madrid moved five points clear at the group summit after winning their opening three games in the competition for the first time since the 2014-15 campaign.

Los Blancos could book their place in the last 16 with victory over Shakhtar in the return fixture in Warsaw next week, which would be the ideal scenario for Kroos.

"The idea is to finish the group as soon as possible," the midfielder told Movistar+. "We have nine points out of nine, we have played three very good games, and we want another victory in Warsaw. 

"There are days when the ball does not want to enter, it has been a game to win 7-1 or something. But in the end, it is three points, and it has been a deserved victory.

"In the end, it's hard to believe we won only 2-1, but there are days like that. The ball will go in over the next few games."

Head coach Carlo Ancelotti warned his players against complacency after they were pegged back against the run of play by Oleksandr Zubkov's spectacular strike.

But the Italian was thrilled at seeing his side creating so many chances; Madrid only registering more shots on goal in a single Champions League match against Roma in March 2016.

"[I am] satisfied because I think we played very well; the front three combined very well in front, pressing more," Ancelotti added. "We have had many opportunities, but we have not succeeded. The important thing was to have opportunities.

"We have lowered the intensity [at 2-0 up]; we thought we were comfortable. I gave a call for attention at half-time because the game was not over.

"It's pretty normal that it can happen. We were playing very well, it seemed easy, but these were the dangerous matches. You get ahead of yourself. 

"I think it's important to leave this group behind next week, so we can focus on the league."

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