Jose Mourinho has insisted his Real Madrid side are capable of progressing to the Champions League final, despite being thrashed 4-1 by Borussia Dortmund in the Westfalenstadion last week.
Jurgen Klopp’s men dispatched Madrid with consummate ease but Mourinho believes that football’s unpredictable nature means they are still in the tie.
“It is a 90 minute match and we are losing 1-4,” he told the club’s official website. “We have 90 minutes to play and in football it is possible.”
“You have to play with mental aggressiveness, not physical, and desire. Saturday’s match [against Atletico Madrid] was an example of a compact, united, aggressive team and 11 players working towards the objective.”
The objective tonight is clear. Los Blancos must score at least three times to have any chance of reaching the Champions League final at Wembley in May.
And Mourinho was only too aware that his side could not afford to capitulate like they did in Germany.
“The way we played in Dortmund was too poor for us to think that we could play a similar match and have a chance to turn things around,” he said.
The Portuguese remained coy about his team selection for tonight’s game but hinted at the possibility of one or two surprise inclusions.
“We could play with certain people that we do not normally play with and with an unusual system,” he suggested. “So I will not say anything. Cristiano Ronaldo is fine. Arbeloa and Marcelo are injured and the rest are available.”
Nine-time European Cup winners Madrid have not reached the final for more than a decade, and few now expect them to be lifting the trophy in London next month.
One thing is guaranteed however – if Mourinho’s men do eliminate Dortmund, it would represent one of the greatest comebacks in Champions League history.