Jose Mourinho hopes that ‘football is fair’ to Real Madrid as they attempt to defeat Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League semi-finals.
Los Blancos are at this stage of the competition for a third successive season and go into Wednesday evening’s first leg in Dortmund with their Coach reflective of the target.
“Would elimination be a failure? When I arrived here Madrid was on nine European Cups. They were the club with the richest history,” began Mourinho to reporters at today’s pre-match conference.
“But they were not seeded in the Champions League draw, but were 11th or 12th best.
“At this time Madrid are seeded third in the ranking. We have improved a lot on the past. Economically we have also managed to increase revenue in this competition.
“To finish second at this club is not enough, to reach the semi-finals is not enough. We should give our utmost to reach the final.
“And if we are in the final then we’ll see about winning it.
“I rely on the individual quality of the players. And in the collective quality. This team has a way to play that is familiar.
“They have been together for three years, their playing style ensures quality. The fans want and deserve this.
“I would hope that football is fair to these people. Except for three or four of them, these players have not won this competition. Together this team has never won the Champions League.
“In the previous years we have been eliminated. Last year we were out on penalties. I hope for justice for my players because in recent seasons we have been close.”
Mourinho was asked of Madrid’s chances of winning the trophy as they face a side in the semi-finals that earlier in the competition’s group stages earned a win and a draw against them.
“In the semis there are four of the six teams almost everybody was expecting. Sometimes there are surprise teams, but not this time.
“It could have been [Manchester] United or Juventus, but no other team. It is difficult to predict who will play in the final.
“So I would predict it is 25 per cent for Borussia Dortmund and 25 per cent for Real Madrid to win the title.
“All four goals we conceded against Dortmund [in the group stage] were mistakes by us. They could have been avoided. In this round we have to have a lot more defensive concentration.
“We are more solid. If they are to score goals then they will have to be fantastic or because we could not do anything.”
There were doubts over Diego Lopez’ availability, but Mourinho took the surprise decision to name his provisional starting line-up, including the goalkeeper and ‘hopefully’ Angel di Maria too.
“Diego Lopez will play and I can also tell you the right-back, centre-backs and left-back. Those that will play are Ramos, Pepe, Coentrao, Khedira, Xabi Alonso, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ozil, Higuain and Di Maria.
“But with Di Maria we are waiting to see. Regarding my relationship with Casillas, it is professional.”
Real Madrid provisional XI to face Borussia Dortmund: Lopez; Ramos, Pepe, Varane, Coentrao; Khedira, Alonso; Ozil, Cristiano, Di Maria; Higuain
“I don't know Jurgen Klopp very well but he seems to be very authentic.
“When I hear him saying that he does not want to focus too much on the way Real Madrid is playing, I believe that he will play a very attacking game and Dortmund will run and fight for every ball.
“Borussia have their own identity. It is not easy to play against them. I’m saying what game principles we will use.
“Already I have given you the starting line-up that is usually a secret. I have given you that so there is no speculation.”