23 April 2013
Jose Mourinho spoke to the press at the Signal Iduna Park press room a little hours before Real Madrid faces the first leg Champions League semi-finals. The Real boss, who confirmed that “Diego Lopez, Ramos, Varane, Pepe, Coentrão, Khedira, Alonso, Özil, Higuain, Cristiano Ronaldo and hopefully Di Maria” will play, analyzed the upcoming match against Borussia Dortmund: “Making it to the semi-finals isn’t enough in this club. You have to give your all to make to the final and try to win it. Klopp is a fantastic coach; I think he’s genuine and honest. When I read that he’s not much interested in Real Madrid and only worries about his team and their identity I expect nothing less than a Borussia with an attacking style that’s going to go all out. It’s their philosophy and he’s very honest whenever he speaks. I can’t expect anything less than that”.
The Portuguese manager also spoke about how confident his team is ahead of the playoff: “I rely on individual quality and the collective quality of this team. We have a way of playing that’s well known, we’ve been on the brink for three years and we have a dynamic that guarantees quality. I also rely on mindset because the players want and deserve to go to Wembley. I’d be really happy if football was fair to our players because they’re people that, with the exception of maybe four or five players, have never won this competition and as a team we’ve never won it. We were eliminated in the semi-finals two years ago in a way that’s better not to speak of and last year it was on penalties, which is a hard situation to accept. We’re fighting to make it”.
When asked about the way his team can overcome Dortmund’s pressure on the kickoff and the two clashes the teams have already had this season, Mourinho replied: “I don’t want to be very specific in my answer. Dortmund has its own way of playing and it’s not easy to play against them. I can’t say what it is we’re planning. The goals that we ceded to them in the two previous matches were our errors. The first was on a ball we lost in the first stages of construction and the second was because their winger wasn’t marked. They scored first in the Bernabeu because all our defenders rushed the ball and no one went to the area of protection and we didn’t close the spaces for their last goal. I hope that we’re more focused and solid defensively this playoff”.
Mourinho was clear on whether getting bumped out of the competition would be a failure: “When I arrived this club already had nine European Cups, but it wasn’t even the top-seeded team in the draw. Now it’s a top-seeded club, I think third in the ranking, we’ve improved a lot and economically we’ve radically increased our earnings in this competition. Making it to the semi-finals isn’t enough in this club. You have to give your all to make to the final and try to win it”.
Mourinho made special mention of two of his players: Di Maria and Casillas. The coach had the following to say about the winger: “He’s had a good day because his daughter was born, but it’s been rough because it wasn’t an easy situation for him or his family. We hope he’s ready to play”. Regarding the captain, Mourinho said: “I have a professional and polite relationship with Casillas”.
When asked about the pressure his team might feel, the Real boss said: “I fight anxiety by not having it. If you’re anxious you have to live with it, but since I’m not I’m calm. It’s another match and we’ll try to win it to make it to the final, but without any anxiety”.
The semi-finals kick off today with the clash between Bayern and Barcelona, and Mourinho said: “I hope that we see it. I said a few press conferences ago that it was a calm draw because there wasn’t one team that was better than the other and for that reason watching the Bayern-Barcelona match on TV is synonymous with calm. We all expect it to be a great match and it’s normal to expect a great game with two teams of this calibre”. Regarding Götze, Real’s opponent tomorrow and future Bayern player, the coach commented: “I don’t know the player or Borussia’s mindset and culture. I have no idea whether it can have positive, negative or no consequences".
To conclude, Mourinho congratulated Alex Ferguson for his recent Premier League win: “It comes as no surprise to me or anyone else that Ferguson is champion again. I congratulate him”.
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