Real Madrid coach Mourinho says Manchester City still a threat
As Real Madrid lose again in Germany, coach insists his side are still on course for knockout stages and says English champions could roar back
Coach Jose Mourinho said Real Madrid are on course for the Champions League knockout stages despite their 2-1 defeat at Dortmund, but warned that Manchester City are still a danger in group D.
Borussia Dortmund took the lead when Robert Lewandowski's first-half strike on Wednesday was cancelled out by Real's Cristiano Ronaldo, before defender Marcel Schmelzer hit the 64th-minute winner for the German champions.
Dortmund snatched top spot in the group from Real to lead with seven points, leaving Madrid on six and Ajax on three after their 3-1 win over Manchester City, who are last with just a point.
But with three group games left, Mourinho insists the English champions can still roar back to win their next three games - home to Ajax, then Real, followed by a trip to Dortmund - and remain a threat.
"Everyone knows this is a good group. Some of the others are a joke, but this is a hard one," said Mourinho with Real set to face Dortmund again at Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium in a fortnight.
"A big team will go to the Europa League and after this result there is a gap between us and the other teams. Us and Borussia are in the better position to make the next stage, but City can still get 10 points, so we have to make sure we get 11."
Despite having been European champions nine times, Real continued their appalling record on German soil. In their 24 matches in Germany they have now suffered 17 losses and their single victory was 12 years ago.
"We were just missing a goal. Both sides had their chances to win. We could have also got a few goals and won," said Mourinho.
Meanwhile, defender Micah Richards pointed the finger at coach Roberto Mancini after City's 3-1 loss at Ajax that left their ambitions in tatters.
City were well beaten at the Amsterdam ArenA, but Richards felt that matters were not helped by Mancini's decision to switch to a three-man defence after the visitors fell 2-1 down in the second half.
There was half an hour to play when Mancini made the change, but within five minutes Christian Eriksen had struck to double Ajax's advantage and the English champions could find no way back.
Mancini promptly rejigged his formation again, returning to a back four, but by then the damage had been done.
"It is something that we have not worked on very much and it is the second time we have conceded after going to a back three," said the right-back.
"We will have to work on it. We are happy just to play, but I think the players prefer a back four. It is what the manager wants."
Mancini cut a forlorn figure in his own post-match interview, but he rebuffed suggestions his tactical tinkering cost City the chance of getting back into the game. "We changed for five minutes, because we wanted to have one player in the hole," he said. "But on the pitch, we always had 11 players.
"Before [the change] we conceded two goals. I don't think this is important - three, four, five, six or seven [defenders].
"If someone wants to take that as an excuse, okay, but it's not the reason."
Mancini conceded City "need a miracle, like last year" to go through, but he was unwilling to countenance the notion that this setback might have a negative impact on the rest of his side's season.
"You know that you can play bad and lose one game, like we did tonight, but the season is long and we have lots of important games."