02 October 2012
José Mourinho appeared in the press room at the Amsterdam Arena the day before the match against Ajax. The Portuguese coach spoke about his team’s first match away from home in the Champions League: "I studied Ajax as usual and they are a better team than last year. I have not stayed at home as many would, I came to see them live and to do my job better. We have worked on some things yesterday and today, and everything is normal. Nobody distracts me from my aim, which is to win or try to win the match tomorrow. It is a match like any other and what happens away from that or what is written doesn’t distract me and nor do I think it does the players either".
Mourinho spoke about Frank de Boer and the Whites’ next opponent: "I want to thank Frank, he has said positive things about me. We worked together for two years. We have continued, without having much contact, being friends and respecting one another. He is a young coach, he works very well and is growing in the same way that his team is and I am sure that they will be even stronger than in previous seasons. I think they are more accustomed to the Champions League and are a more tactical team than in other years and they are good on the counter and have a good team".
When asked about his trip to Amsterdam to study the next opponent he was clear: "It's my job to have seen them live, as was going to see Manchester City. I could have seen it on television, but I took a plane and I was here. I'm happy to be here. There are some of the same players from last season and they have the same philosophy. In my opinion they have a team that is well-prepared for the Champions League, better than last year. I do not know if they are a weaker team, I think the players are gaining more years’ Champions League experience. For many, tomorrow will be the fifth time that they have played against us and for them it will be a normal thing. So I do not think they are weaker".
Following Real Madrid’s recent wins, Mourinho is confident that the team will get another victory in Amsterdam: "The whole team is pulling in the same direction. We have won three straight matches. Against Manchester City we made a special comeback, against Rayo we had a difficult game that the team was able to win and against Deportivo we went 1-0 behind and only a team that wants to win can comeback like that. It's a bit of a strange question, because I could ask you if all of you in your job are pulling in the same direction, as opposed to some in one direction and other in the other".
"I have a Champions League match tomorrow and that is motivation enough. If you ask my players then you will find that there are none that will not say that they really want to start tomorrow. Only 11 can do, I have 24 here, and 13 will be left with a bitter taste in their mouths because the Champions League is a motivation for everyone. I will use the players who can give me the most guarantees tomorrow. I have one with an injury and I do not know if he will be unable to play tomorrow. That is Khedira. Others are ready, some played two days ago and others didn’t and are fresher like Arbeloa, who will play" he said when asked about the possible starting eleven.
About the importance of every Champions League match he said: "Each point is crucial, every loss pushes you towards a dangerous situation. We want to move forward and to continue what we did in the Champions League last year. It was normal to get knocked out early and lose matches three or four years ago. In recent years it has become normal win and to qualify for the next stage and to go a long way and that is what we want to do tomorrow. Our aim is to leave here with more points than we have now. One point will be OK for us but we will try to go home with three".
About Sergio Ramos and what he said on social networks regarding his gesture in wearing an Özil shirt underneath his own in the match against Deportivo he said: "He is a great professional. I have no problems with him. We have no problem, what he says is true". On his relationship with man from Seville he joked: "My relationship with my wife is better than my relationship with Sergio Ramos, but my relationship with him is better than it is with people who I do not work with and who I do not share my day with everyday. The same goes for my relationship with Arbeloa and with the rest. About what he said, you’ll have to ask him".
When asked why Özil has played fewer minutes this season than last season Mourinho said: "Less playing time or less quality playing time? Because, the better the quality, the more playing time". And about Modric and whether he was missing something or at his best he said: "We need more time training, more matches and more confidence. He needs to get to know his teammates better and his coach's ideas. He lacks many things".