MADRID: Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho insisted that the Champions League duel with Manchester United, which will probably decide his fate and legacy in Spain, is far from finished.
The two sides battled out a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their last-16 tie at the Bernabeu, a result which should give United a slight edge ahead of the return at Old Trafford on March 5.
But Mourinho, already a Champions League-winning coach with Porto and Inter Milan, backed his Real team to score again in Manchester.
“We can definitely score at Old Trafford, many teams have done already this season and they’ll know that,” said Mourinho, whose side fell behind to a Danny Welbeck goal on Wednesday before former United star Cristiano Ronaldo levelled.
“Because of the football culture in England I don’t think they can play as defensively there. It’s easy to understand — if they score first we have to score, if we score first we’re in the lead.”
The Portuguese coach was defiant about the pressure facing him going into the second leg.
“I don’t feel pressure, I work well to do my best job. Real Madrid can score goals away, life goes on. See you all in three weeks’ time.”
United manager Alex Ferguson was the happier with his side’s performance and the result, picking out goalkeeper David De Gea, back in his home city, Welbeck and Phil Jones for special praise.
“I thought De Gea was excellent and made four or five top saves, but he’s been performing well all season, he’s done well,” said Ferguson. “We would have taken 1-1 before the game. In the first-half I was disappointed at how deep we played, but the away goal is important. It’s not finished but it gives us a good chance to go through.
“We had four attacking players in our team so I think we came to win the game. We were deep especially in the first-half, but we made chances.
“We’ll play differently at home. They counter-attack very well but we have goals in our team. It’s still 50-50 but the team that scores first will have a good chance.”
Dortmund happy to return home on level terms
Germany defender Mats Hummels said Borussia Dortmund are relishing their Champions League last 16, second-leg, clash at home to Shakhtar Donetsk in a fortnight after Wednesday’s 2-2 draw in Ukraine.
Dortmund twice came from behind and were heading towards their first European defeat of the season before centre-back Hummels powered home from a corner, three minutes from time.
The draw means Dortmund are unbeaten in Europe and Hummels said Dortmund have all to play for in the second leg at Borussia’s Signal Iduna Park on March 5.
Having beaten Real Madrid, Manchester United and Ajax to win Group D, Dortmund came perilously close to joining current holders Chelsea in suffering defeat at Shakhtar’s notoriously tricky Donbass Arena.
“We were punished for a couple of defensive mistakes, which was annoying,” said Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp.
“2-1 wouldn’t have been a bad result to take back to Dortmund, but the 2-2 was very important for the team’s mood before the second leg.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2013.