Jose Mourinho wants Real Madrid to avoid Inter Milan and Chelsea
Thursday 17 March 2011
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho hopes to avoid former clubs Inter Milan and Chelsea in the quarter-finals of the Champions League after helping the Spanish giants end their miserable run of exits at the last-16 stage.
Madrid had been dumped out at the first knockout round in each of the last six seasons, but the nine-time winners finally got that monkey off their back by getting past Lyon - their conquerors last season.
Having drawn the first leg 1-1 in France, Madrid completed a 4-1 aggregate victory thanks to goals from Marcelo, Karim Benzema and Angel Di Maria in Wednesday night's second leg at the Bernabeu.
Mourinho, looking to win the Champions League with a third club, was pleased with his team's performance but played down the fact Madrid had finally reached the last eight after years of disappointment.
"Lyon are a good team, one of the best in this year's Champions League, but we deserved to win. We played a very complete game and we are in the quarter-finals," said the Portuguese.
"I'm happy and quite relaxed because it's normal that we've qualified for the quarters. Some day we had to get through - what wasn't normal was Madrid not getting through.
"Not getting through would have been a failure because Madrid always think about going further than the last 16. We're going in the right direction and the titles are going to arrive."
Looking ahead to Friday's draw for the next stage, Mourinho would rather not face his two most recent employers prior to last summer's move to Madrid - Chelsea and reigning European champions Inter.
"I prefer to avoid Inter and Chelsea because, emotionally, it's difficult to play against ex-teams," he said.
"If we get them, we get them. We're professionals. If I have to face those who were my people, I will do it, but I will be obliged to prepare myself more psychologically than against other teams that aren't in my heart."
Madrid had to wait until eight minutes before half-time to make the breakthrough against Lyon, when full-back Marcelo scored a fine goal.
The home side then dominated the second period, and further goals from in-form striker Benzema - who took his tally to nine in seven goals after netting against his former club - and Di Maria sealed a convincing triumph.
Lyon coach Claude Puel felt Madrid were deserved winners, saying: "I think we did things well in the first half, especially in attack, and we had a certain amount of possession.
"We played quite well and seemed to be quite dangerous. However, we gave them too many opportunities, too many easy balls.
"In the second half, the second goal was very bad for us. We gave Real Madrid a big gift with that, and from that moment on we didn't have many opportunities. We didn't know how to improve our level of play.
"We came up against a very good team and all I can do is congratulate Real Madrid because they deserved the win."
Regarding Madrid's chances of going all the way, Puel said: "I would say that Real Madrid can make it to the end.
"They have high individual quality, very good players with good acceleration, and if they carry on playing so strong in defence they have every chance to get to the final stages, but the path ahead is very long."
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