Mourinho backs Real Madrid to shock Man United in Champions League

Madrid coach says his side can definitely find the net at Old Trafford after coming back from a goal down to snatch a draw at Bernabeu

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 February, 2013, 4:59am


Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho insisted 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 it already this season and they'll know that," he said.

"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."

Mourinho's side fell behind to a Danny Welbeck goal before former United star Cristiano Ronaldo levelled.

But 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," said Mourinho.

United boss Alex Ferguson was the happier with his side's performance and the result. And he picked out goalkeeper David De Gea, back in his home city, Welbeck and Phil Jones for special praise.

"I thought De Gea was excellent tonight and made four or five top saves, but he's been performing well all season," 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 of going 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."

Asked why captain Nemanja Vidic, who has battled a knee injury for large parts of the season, did not start, Ferguson admitted that Jonny Evans and Rio Ferdinand were better options. "I played Vidic against Everton [on Sunday], because I thought it was more his game. He can only play a match every eight or nine days, like Rio, and we didn't have enough days to get him into the right shape."

Ferguson had promised goals in the game and they came early.

Ronaldo scored after 30 minutes with his seventh Champions League goal of the season, making him the top-scorer in the competition, after Welbeck had headed home a corner 10 minutes earlier.

"It is your night," ran the headline of Madrid sports daily Marca next to a giant picture of Ronaldo ahead of the star's first encounter with Manchester United, the club he left three and a half years ago. But on a pitch filled with stellar attacking talent, it was De Gea who was the star of the show.

Just five minutes into the widely anticipated tie he diverted Fabio Coentrao's goalbound effort onto the post to keep United from sinking under an early Madrid storm.

He denied Mesut Ozil and Angel di Maria before Coentrao was left wondering how De Gea stretched out a long gangly leg to unconventionally turn away the Portuguese full-back's back-post effort.