Jose Mourinho claims Real Madrid players were afraid of facing Lyon during his first season

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Real Madrid's era of European dominance has finally come to an end.

Los Blancos won three straight Champions League titles between 2016 and 2018, as well as one before that in 2014.

The Spanish side had been the best in Europe for years, but that all changed two weeks ago.

A 5-3 aggregate defeat to Ajax saw Real crash out of the Champions League in the first knockout round, meaning a different name will be engraved on the famous trophy this year. 

It's actually hard to believe that before their triumph in the 2014 competition, Real had failed to win the Champions League since 2002. 

In fact, before Jose Mourinho took over the team in 2010, Los Blancos didn't even reach the quarter-finals stage in any of the previous six years. 

That's pretty poor, considering they were in the middle of that famous 'galactico' era throughout. 

So when Mourinho arrived in the summer of 2010, he had his work cut out to ensure Real Madrid returned to the top. 

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And judging by his latest comments, there were some serious confidence issues amongst the squad that he inherited. 

"I think that for seven or eight years they hadn't reached the quarter-finals," he told beIN Sports, per Marca

"They didn't play in semi-finals or quarter-finals. In my first season we had Lyon and the club was afraid.

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"I couldn't understand how a club could be afraid of Lyon, who were a good team, but it was Lyon."

These days, it's almost impossible to imagine the 13-time European champs would fear a team like Lyon, but that's apparently how Mourinho's stars felt in 2011. 

The Special One guided Madrid back to the semi-finals in his first season back but lost out to rivals Barcelona. A year later, they were beaten on penalties by Bayern Munich at the same stage. 

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Another devastating last-four defeat to Borussia Dortmund followed in 2013 before Mourinho departed the Bernabeu and returned to Chelsea. 

Although he failed to deliver La Decima himself, Real went on to win their 10th European title just a year later, meaning Mourinho may have set the groundwork for that success during his tenure. 

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