Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho says his team will first go out to ensure they win Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Borussia Dortmund, and only then look to see if they can score enough goals to reach the final.
After losing the first leg 4-1 in Dortmund last week, Madrid need one of the club’s historic remontada comebacks to reach May 25’s decider at Wembley. Over the past few days, however, hope has been building in the Spanish capital that their side can achieve the almost impossible.
Mourinho, though, was more reserved at Monday’s pre-game press conference, saying that anything could happen, but only if his players remained focused and played their usual game.
“We will go out to play, and try and get in front,” Mourinho said. “If we are 1-0 up, we need two goals to win. We must go minute by minute, goal by goal, until the last minute of the game. We must first try to win the game, then if we are ahead, try and score more and see if we can make the final. Football is football, and everything is possible.”
Mourinho confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo is fit to play after missing Saturday’s 2-1 city derby win at Atletico Madrid with a thigh problem, but, unlike last week, did not name the starting XI a day early.
“We all knew the team which was going to play, apart from [Angel] Di Maria with his situation,” he said. “It was a team which everyone knew – you, me, Dortmund. There were no doubts. Tomorrow the situation is different, we might play different players who do not normally play, or a different system than usual.”
Di Maria was a substitute last week having arrived in Germany late due to the birth of his child, but should start on Tuesday after a match-winning display against Atletico. A defensive reshuffle could see Michael Essien in at right-back, with Sergio Ramos moved into the centre of defence. That would mean Pepe, who struggled against Robert Lewandowski at the Westfalenstadion, dropping to the bench.
Mourinho said his players needed to show more “mental aggression” in dealing with Lewandowski and his attacking colleagues this time around.
“We are so pure and so innocent and so naive, that Lewandowski scored four times and we did not even foul him,” he said. “You play a game for 90 minutes, and there is no foul on a player who scores four. Ronaldo was fouled four or five times. You must be concentrated, with mental aggression, and we must be more a team like that.”
However, the Portuguese said he was generally avoiding the emotional remontada media campaign launched by the club this week – which included a rousing video featuring various players calling on fans to help the team to another historic comeback.
Mourinho did not appear in the video as he had been busy elsewhere focusing on more important work, he revealed.
“I am not very concerned about trying to build a mood among fans. I am more concerned with my analysis of last week’s game, and tomorrow’s game,” he said. “The best way to motivate the fans is to get a better result than in Dortmund. There are people who work in other areas, who motivate people with videos or other things. In my job I motivate the fans with results.”
Speculation that Mourinho had told Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp before last week’s game that he was heading for Chelsea next season, and that current Paris Saint-Germain boss Carlo Ancelotti was replacing him at the Santiago Bernabeu was dismissed.
“It is a pity that people read the newspaper story and then don’t read Klopp’s statement that I never told him I was going to Chelsea,” Mourinho said. “I do not know about any contact between Ancelotti and Madrid, you must ask him. I do not feel anything about this maybe being my last game in the Champions League at the Bernabeu for Madrid. It is the most important game for Madrid in the last ten years, and I think about that.”