April 26, 2011

Jose Mourinho press conference before Champions League El Clasico

 "We played great at the Bernabeu and in the Copa final, but we are up against a top-class coach and team"

Heading into the first leg of Wednesday's Champions League semifinal, Jose Mourinho discussed matters including the team's morale, a possible outcome at the Bernabeu and the role of the referee.

"It will be an evenly fought tie. There are no favorites. We played great at the Bernabeu and in the Copa final, but we are up against a top-class coach and team. We know that each competition is different and that each match has its own history. We always look for balance and find it. The team is relaxed ahead of the Champions League semifinal, but we have to put forth our maximum effort and avoid being influenced by what has already taken place."

"I don't know how Barcelona are morale-wise. Ours is the same has we not won the Copa final. Winning the Copa was great, but we began preparing for Valencia once the final was over and subsequently for this match. Both teams are just as excited and last year Barcelona's obsession stemmed from the fact that they could win the Champions League in the Bernabeu. Not this time. The final is at Wembley, where they already won a Champions League."

"There are no favorites for this tie. The two teams know each other well and both have players that have played in important matches and who know how to produce victories. Looking at the Shalke-Manchester semifinal and I don't see a favorite either."

"You never head to the Camp Nou with a secure lead. We beat Tottenham 4-0 and then had difficulty against Tottenham, which is a very good team but not Barcelona. Sometimes tendecies are broken, but it would be normal for everything to be up in the air for the return leg. A draw would be bad if we play better and have scoring chances. If it's the opponent that plays better, I would be happy going there."

"What is more imporant than who is refereeing is that we start a new cycle because there have been two groups of managers up until now: a quiet one who doesn't talk about referees and a louder one, such as myself, that criticized the referees when they make significant mistakes. We have entered a new era following the statements made by Guardiola and there is now a third group. He is the only one in it as he criticizes the right calls made by referees. I had never seen anything like it before. We will see if his supporters follow him into the group."

"I am a natural motivator. First I have to motivate myself and then I motivate my players. Before the Cup final all I told them was a statement made by Einstein: "There is a driving force more powerful than steam, electricity and atomic energy... the will." Not long ago I was speaking to a television channel and I told them that I am the same coach that lost 5-0 against Barcelona two months ago. I am a hard worker and I put in a lot of hours to help those around me. But I was the coach of this team two months ago, which is why I don't accept the notion that I have a magic potion."

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