Angel Di Maria believes that Real Madrid showed they can grow as a team despite being without Cristiano Ronaldo as they romped to a 4-1 victory over Galatasaray.
The Portuguese forward is sidelined for the Blancos, but that did not stop Carlo Ancelotti's men from embarrassing the Turkish side at the Santiago Bernabeu in the penultimate Champions League group stage round of matches.
Di Maria, 25, scored the third goal against Roberto Mancini's men and the Argentine thinks it was important to establish their dominance in Group B, with Wedneday's result securing their passage to the last 16.
"We must continue to grow as a team," he told reporters. "We have a big lead [in the group] and that is very important for the coach."
Madrid played the majority of the encounter with 10 men after defender Sergio Ramos was sent off early on. and Di Maria was proud with how the team reacted to the initial setback.
"I'm happy with the win," he added. "The team sacrificed themselves in a way, we got through to the second round, which is what we wanted."
Gareth Bale opened the scoring with a fine free kick before Umut Bulut equalised for Galatasaray with half-time lingering, but Alvaro Arbeloa, Di Maria and Isco put Mancini's men to the sword.
Madrid sit top of Group B with 13 points - seven ahead of Juventus, and nine clear of both Galatasaray and Copenhagen.