Isco's goal at the Vicente Calderon Stadium left Atletico in need of scoring three more goals to advance to the final and avoid another Champions League elimination against the city rival. However, Isco's away goal just before half-time settled Real's nerves and left Atletico with too much to do to progress.
"I am improving in all aspects (as a coach), but that doesn't mean anything", he said. "And to do it two years in a row, you must congratulate all the squad".
Madrid, an 11-time European champion, will try to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since the competition's new format was created in 1992. They knew Atletico had tried everything possible, but the damage had been done eight days before at the Santiago Bernabeu.More news: Apple, Qualcomm spat intensifies, manufacturers drawn in
The first 20 minutes of this magic night at the Calderon will be remembered forever, the Atletico coach said.
The Atletico crowd stayed on to cheer their team long after the final whistle, while the players returned from the changing rooms several minutes after the game to greet the fans. "The atmosphere was one of those magical moments in the Calderon that will live in people's memories forever".
But the Frenchman said there was no way the holders merited favouritism against the Serie A champions, who have conceded just three goals in 12 Champions League games this season.
When Raphael Varane brought down Fernando Torres four minutes later and Antoine Griezmann converted the penalty, the comeback seemed a real possibility.More news: Ringling Bros. shuts down the big top after 146 years
The win sees Real set-up and intriguing final with Juventus in Cardiff next month. Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas got his glove to the ball, but couldn't keep it out.
Fierce challenges then rained in from both sides as Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir struggled to keep control, with five players booked inside the opening 37 minutes.
"We knew that with a goal we would kill them, we had more experience and we showed it", Ronaldo told Cadena SER. Although Jan Oblak saved the German's shot, Isco was on hand to score from close range.
The Atletico midfielder did nearly manage to get himself sent off in the second half with a late challenge on Casemiro.More news: Nicky Hayden remains in 'extremely serious' condition, doctors confirm