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: 25/02/13 at 16:34 Post Comment

Jose Mourinho: Prefers the tougher tests

Jose Mourinho: Prefers the tougher tests

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.

On Tuesday night, 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.


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terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

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he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

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o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

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