MADRID: Jose Mourinho insisted he was still confident that Real Madrid will overcome Manchester United to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League despite being held 1-1 at home in the first leg of their second round tie in Spain.
The nine-times European champions had to come from behind with Cristiano Ronaldo powering in a magnificent header to level Danny Wellbeck’s surprise 20th-minute opener.
Mourinho, seeking to become the first manager to win the Champions League with three different clubs, said: “I like to play first at home. That means you know what you have to do away in the second leg. Because of the English culture you can’t play with defenders in your own box at home. United can’t play like they did here.
“We had chances to score more, but we were playing against a side defending very deep. It’s not a criticism. They can play how they like.”
The Old Trafford return is on March 5, days after a Spanish Cup semi-final second leg against Barcelona and a league ‘Clasico’ at the Bernabeu on the Saturday.
With Madrid trailing leaders Barca by 16 points in La Liga their chances of retaining their title have vanished which makes securing a potential 10th European crown and, to a lesser degree the Cup, of even greater importance.
Asked if Wednesday’s result left him under greater pressure, Mourinho said: “I don’t feel any pressure. In the Cup and the Champions League everything is all square (at 1-1) but we are Real Madrid and we can score goals and win games away from home.
“Many other teams have scored at Old Trafford and they haven’t faced a team like us there yet. United didn’t play to win but they did their job well. They will be happy. But they know what we can do there.
“If you asked me percentages I don’t change one single number, it’s 50-50.”
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