APOEL-Real Madrid tie will be decided at the Santiago Bernabeu – Mourinho
Real Madrid haven’t kicked a ball against APOEL yet but Jose Mourinho has already predicted that this UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie will be decided at the Bernabeu.
The Champions League winning coach was speaking to the press for the first time since Real Madrid’s controversial 1-1 draw against Villarreal which resulted in the club boycotting the media before the league game against Real Sociedad. Jose Mourinho reportedly stated:
“We are favourites; we cannot deny it. APOEL and Madrid cannot be compared, but I respect them very much. We have studied their evolution and know it will be a tough game.
“Of course, we will try to win, but my feelings are that it will be a tough game and that everything will be decided at the Bernabeu.”
APOEL Nicosia stunned Lyon in the previous round by emerging victorious from a dramatic penalty shoot-out. The underdogs of Cyprus will fancy their chances against pre-tournament favourites Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, Los Blancos may benefit from in-form Cristiano Ronaldo in the absence of key midfielder Xabi Alonso. Pursuing his statement, Jose Mourinho added:
“Of course we have to learn something from them. There is great power within the group and that's more important than the quality of any player.
“They all fight for the interests of the team and know that everything is possible in this sport. That's a great lesson for the whole world.
“We must respect APOEL. Their Champions League campaign has been great and they deserve to be where they are.”
Real Madrid will host APOEL in the return leg of this UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie on April 4, 2012.