Real Madrid are clear favorites in their Champions League quarter final clash with Cyprus representative, APOEL, but their coach, Jose Mourinho, refused to call it a walk in the park especially for the first leg match at Nicosia, Cyprus.
Mourinho warned his players that playing against a team that shrugged off the challenge of FC Porto, Shaktar Donetsk and Olympique Lyon are not to be taken lightly at all, stating that it will be a difficult away match indeed.
Mourinho who spoke ahead of the clash against APOEL this Tuesday doesn’t believe that his team will seal the result immediately on the first leg, saying that he only aims for a positive result in their away trip. The Portuguese tactician simply looking to make things just like in the second round which is by getting the best possible outcome outside of Bernabue and simply closed things off in front of their crowd in the second leg.
“Once you look at the group APOEL were in you become aware of their value. They fight for every game and believe anything is possible in football. Maybe everyone believes the tie with APOEL will be easy, but I don’t expect it to be. We want a good result in Nicosia and to seal the tie at the Bernabeu,” Mourinho explained. “
The Portuguese tactician will be missing an important actor for his team on Tuesday as Xabi Alonso is unavailable due to suspension, but Mourinho remains calm about the situation while hinting at a possible replacement on Esteban Granero. Although the former Inter Milan and Chelsea coach still can’t confirm Granero’s place in the starting line up ,but the coach believes that the midfielder has the right balance to replace Alonso.
I have confidence in all of them, and so does everyone else. I’m very happy not to hear anyone mention Xabi Alonso. We will try to reach the semifinals a second straight year. Granero is a good option to replace Xabi Alonso. He is balanced, but this is not to say he will be a starter. Nevertheless, he’s ready to start if we decide he must,”
Meanwhile, talking about the recent press blackout that Mourinho did for his team in the league, the tactician refused to be held responsible for the action, stating that he never make such a rule of not talking to the media. The Portuguese were absent from the press conference after Madrid’s draw agaisnt Villarreal and also did the same thing ahead of Los Blancos weekend match against Real Sociedad, and just return for the Champions League press conference.