Mourinho relishing big matches

Jose Mourinho is looking forward to what could be the make-or-break week in Real Madrid's season.

Last Updated: 26/02/13 at 19:07 Post Comment

Jose Mourinho: Prefers the tougher tests

Jose Mourinho: Prefers the tougher tests

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

With their Primera Division title all but lost, Madrid must focus on the Copa del Rey and Champions League to try to bring silverware to the Bernabeu this season, but face tough tasks to progress in both competitions in the next eight days.

Tonight they travel to arch rivals Barcelona for the second leg of their Copa semi-final, while next Tuesday they will be at Old Trafford for the second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie with Manchester United.

Both ties are delicately poised at 1-1 after first legs in Madrid.

If that was not enough to get the juices flowing in the Madrid squad, there is the small matter of another Clasico in the league when Barca come in the opposite direction on Saturday evening.

"These are the sort of matches that we like to play, that everyone wants to play," Mourinho said.

"I prefer matches that are this difficult. We are ready and we are all looking forward to playing these big matches."

Madrid trail Barcelona by 16 points in the table, but there has been little to choose between the two in head-to-head meetings of late.

While the first leg of this tie was a draw, so was their league match in Madrid in October, finishing 2-2, while it took away goals for Mourinho's men to claim the Super Cup when it finished 4-4 over two legs.

However, Mourinho has no interest in what has gone before.

"It is a match that has nothing to do with the others that we've played against them," he said. "Nothing else comes into it, they are a great opponent. We have to try to play our best and get the best result."

Madrid were less than convincing in securing a late 2-1 victory over relegation-threatened Deportivo La Coruna at the weekend, even if Mourinho did make several changes, including giving a rest to Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, they expect to be back to full strength tomorrow with Mourinho confirming that Xabi Alonso and Karim Benzema will be available after coming though training sessions.

Controversy is rarely far away when these two sides are preparing to meet, and Barcelona assistant Jordi Roura has fired the first shots by lamenting the selection of referee Undiano Mallenco for the match.

Roura claimed Barca rarely do well under Undiano's jurisdiction, pointing to their sole league loss so far this season and saying, "With Undiano, our numbers are always worse".

However, Mourinho refused to be drawn into the debate.

"I'd rather stick to the sporting lessons that we have received from Barcelona in the past, to not talk about referees or pressure them, to not look for cards or simulate bookings for our opponents and obviously to play football, which they do very well," he said.

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

HarryBoulton
One Point And One Conclusion For United

P

arish is the man to blame for this shambles. Pulis must be chuckling into his left over turkey sandwich. I pray this doesn't mean the Neil Warnock media machine will kick in now and he'll be back on the telly box.

magicfuller
Warnock sacked by Palace

W

e almost found a new way to lose, just when I thought it was getting boring Giroud does that. Although Arsenal are deservedly called 'soft' the entire midfield is out injured. Still must admit MU are managing to win despite a similar raft of absentees. Think the Gunners have good players but poorly coached.

gettalong
Wenger: Giroud deserved red

Footer 365

Sky sources: Alan Irvine will be in charge for West Brom's trip to West Ham on New Year's Day

A senior West Brom source has told Sky Sports News HQ that Alan Irvine will be in charge for the game against West Ham.

Transfer news: Fernando Torres heads back to Atletico Madrid on loan until end of next season

Fernando Torres is returning to Atletico Madrid on loan until the end of the 2015-16 season.

Simon Mignolet: I'll take positives from losing Liverpool spot and come back stronger

Simon Mignolet says a recent spell out of the Liverpool side could end up having a positive effect on his career.

Mail Box

Van Gaal's Half-Term Report Card...

One Man United fan isn't happy with the rate the team is progressing under Louis van Gaal, while the mailbox also wishes Liverpool fans a Merry Mid-Table Christmas...

Hang On, Rafa's Success Is No Fluke...

The afternoon mailbox kicks the morning mailbox's arse after claims that Rafa Benitez has fluked his success. Plus, big talk about Liverpool's progress and lots more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property