PHILADELPHIA — When Real Madrid hop on their plane to head back to Spain on Saturday night, Jose Mourinho & Co. can kick back with the knowledge that his club ticked off all the boxes during its 2012 US preseason.
They trained hard. They won all four of their matches in the Herbalife World Football Challenge. And they had only one injury setback.
"The worst part [of the preseason in USA] was the scare that there was during the game today. We hope it's not serious," said Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka in reference to the jaw injury suffered by Celtic's Dylan McGeouch during Saturday afternoon's 2-0 win over the Scottish side at Lincoln Financial Field.
Highlights: Real Madrid 2, Celtic 0
"Then with our team, there was what happened to Alex Fernández (reserve midfielder) with his situation in his knee (right strained MCL)," Karanka continued during the post-game press conference in which he sat in for manager Jose Mourinho. "But everything else is positive. The games that we’ve played have been pretty good. Everything went as we wanted and on balance, I think it’s all positive."
Mourinho did complain earlier this week about the fact that he felt it was a short preseason with his squad and that he will once again lose most of his players to national team call-ups for the upcoming FIFA international fixture date this week.
The full Real Madrid squad will get back together again on Thursday ahead of the start of their La Liga season against Valencia three days later on Sunday, August 19.
"We had many objectives beyond the results [during preseason] and I think that we met them," said Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso after the match. "Despite the fact that many consider it's a short preseason, we believe that it has served us a great deal."
It worked well for 25-year-old forward Jose Maria Callejon, who opened the scoring with his fifth goal of the preseason against Celtic. He was one of several Real Madrid attackers who sparkled at different times for Mourinho during the World Football Challenge.
It's little wonder that they scored a record 121 goals on their triumphant march to the La Liga title last year, a feat which Mourinho himself believes cannot be replicated.
"I think the better players you have on the roster everything is much easier," Karanka said. "The competition that you have among the players makes it that every training and every game they give the best of themselves and then you see it in the matches … We hope things continue this way when the league starts on Sunday."
"We have a base and the manager knows us perfectly," Alonso said. "What we have [on the squad] is more than enough to face a tough season like the one that awaits us."