Manchester City pitch in to help Real Madrid knock out Manchester United
Saturday 02 March 2013
Manchester City have granted Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid permission to use their Etihad Stadium as a base as he plots the downfall of their neighbours Manchester United in next week’s Champions League last-16 second leg.
Real confirmed yesterday that Mourinho and his players will leave Spain on Sunday as they begin their final preparations for Tuesday’s game. It had been understood Real would train in Madrid but they will now hold their final session at City’s home.
The Real coach usually does not like his team to train at the stadium of the game. In 2010 when his Internazionale side met Bayern Munich in the final held in Madrid he made sure his team trained at Real’s Valdebebas training ground and not at the Bernabeu.
That explains the decision not to use Old Trafford but not the change of training and travelling plans. Madrid’s Barajas Airport has been affected by industrial action since the start of the year but Mourinho’s change of heart seems to have as much to do with mind games as with airport strikes.
He feels the extra hours away from any clasico inquests – Real play Barcelona today in La Liga – and spent instead ensconced in a friendly quarter of enemy territory will only aid the concentration of his players as they play their biggest game of the season so far.
With former Barcelona directors Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano now in charge at City and their preference for United to stay in the competition in the hope it helps derail them in the league, it might have made for a difficult decision. But Real have been helped out by the club they knocked out of the Champions League in the group stages.
Mourinho will have his mind very much on Tuesday’s game when he names his team to face Barcelona. He could rest up to nine of the players likely to start against United. Brazilian midfielder Kaka will come into midfield, with Mesut Ozil definitely missing the game.
When asked if Mourinho would be tempted to field a strong side despite the proximity of the United game so as to inflict more suffering on Barcelona after knocking them out of the Copa del Rey in midweek, Kaka said: “We are not worried about leaving Barça in crisis; we are only concerned with winning.”
Latest in Sport
- 1 End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
- 2 This restaurant has misunderstood the concept of 'cheese and biscuits'
- 3 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut