'My team are not ready to face Inter or Chelsea,' says Jose

Mourinho fears potential reunions in today's Champions League draw – and he has good reason

After the whirlwind comes the deep depression. Jose Mourinho swept imperiously into Real Madrid two months ago but failure to get what he wanted in the transfer market has left him dreading being paired with an English team in today's Champions League draw.

Real Madrid have been unbeaten but unimpressive throughout their pre-season programme with Mourinho's demands for a centre-forward falling on deaf ears and an injury crisis ravaging their defence. Today they could be paired with Manchester United, Chelsea or the holders Internazionale and Mourinho is paying for the failings of previous seasons. Real's repeated recent collapses at the last 16 stage of the tournament means they are not seeded for the first time in Champions League history.

"It's possible that we will have to play against Chelsea or Manchester United in the first match and I have not had three consecutive days on the training ground with all my players," says Mourinho, lamenting the recent round of international friendlies.

He is without three central defenders and fears a similar injury crisis in attack after his request for a new striker was rejected by the club's sporting director, Jorge Valdano, and president, Florentino Perez.

"We need to be lucky and not have anything happen to our two strikers, Karim Benzema or Gonzalo Higuain," he says. "In an emergency I can play Cristiano Ronaldo through the middle but you lose so much from his game when he plays there. He is not a centre-forward."

Real have signed six players but with Spain internationals Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Arbeloa and Xabi Alonso, and German World Cup stars and new signings Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira also late back into pre-season training, preparations have not been ideal.

"Manchester United, Chelsea and Inter are already-made teams," says Mourinho of his potential rivals. He is well aware that Chelsea rely on the foundations he laid and that Inter have barely changed the team he built and took to the treble last season. Now those teams could block his path in the Champions League.

"Clubs like Manchester United, Chelsea and Inter are well established and just needed to bring in one or two players this summer," he says. "Barça are also the finished product. They play with their eyes closed. They have been together so long that they come back from their holidays and after three days of training they are ready. That is not the case for Madrid.

"A team needs to adapt to a new coach, to six new players and to another way of working. What you will see against Mallorca on Sunday [in their first league game of the season] will not be the finished article."

Mourinho reflects on the final preseason performance of his fledgling side, when the club's six new signings were paraded at the Bernabeu on Tuesday. He has not only inherited a team that is not Champions League seeded, he has also inherits one that has had its budget slashed. Last year £250m was spent on new players, this season just £90m has gone on recruits. Mourinho wanted to move on Kaka this summer to give him some transfer market leg room, but the injury that has ruled him out until November has put paid to that.

Another of last season's big signings has also met with his disapproval. He was heard telling Benzema, "You turn up at 10am half-asleep and you are still asleep at 11am," in a training session recently. Mourinho believes the young Frenchman is far from the finished article.

Neither Benzema nor Kaka fit the Mourinho mould but, with one injured and the other Perez's prized signing from last season, he has been unable to bring in another forward.

He would like to have signed Wolfsburg's Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko but the chances of that are now non-existent according to the club. Madrid's squad is already one man over the permitted 25. Unless left-back Royston Drenthe can be loaned out and midfielder Mahamadou Diarra sold there will be no new faces, and even if there was room, the arrival of another striker who would limit Benzema's opportunities has been frowned upon.

"Put Higuain and Benzema in the same body and you have the complete centre-forward," concludes Mourinho, ramming home the point that he feels he lacks someone that can do for him what Didier Drogba did at Chelsea and Diego Milito at Inter.

Valdano has stated publicly that playing Ronaldo through the middle when needs-must solves the problem. Mourinho wants his compatriot coming from deeper to terrorise defences rather than waiting for the ball to reach him and the disagreement with Valdano will doubtless resurface.

For a while Mourinho has some breathing space. Real Madrid don't play Barcelona until the last weekend in November and if today's draw brings the worst and Madrid are paired with a Premier League team or with the holders Inter, last season will serve as an inspiration.

At Inter, Mourinho played Barcelona twice in the group stage, drawing 0-0 in the second game having been outplayed in a 2-0 defeat at the Nou Camp. That team looked a long way off Pep Guardiola's invincibles.

But when the Champions League semi-finals came around a stronger Inter knocked out Barça and went on to win the tournament. It's a long season and even at the most impatient club in the world Mourinho has enough credit to be given time.

How today's Champions League draw works

Today's Champions League group stage draw takes place in Monaco at 5pm.

Teams will be drawn from four pots of eight, seeded by their performance in Europe over five seasons. No side can be drawn in the same group as a team from their own country. Eight groups of four are drawn.

Pot One Inter Milan, Barcelona, Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Lyon.

Pot Two Werder Bremen, Real Madrid, Roma, Shakhtar Donetsk, Benfica, Valencia, Marseille, Panathinaikos.

Pot Three Tottenham, Rangers, Ajax, Schalke, Basle, Braga, FC Copenhagen, Spartak Moscow.

Pot Four Hapoel Tel Aviv, FC Twente, Rubin Kazan, Auxerre, CFR Cluj, Partizan Belgrade, MSK Zilina, Bursaspor.

Teams will be drawn into eight groups of four, to face each other on a home and away basis, with the top two from each group advancing to the knockout stages. Group games begin on 14-15 September and go on until December, with the final taking place on 28 May 2011 at Wembley.

Scenarios for English clubs

Spurs' best outcome: Lyons, Zenit St Petersburg, Bursaspor.

Spurs' worst outcome: Internazionale, Real Madrid, Spartak Moscow.

Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea all face the possibility of being drawn to face Real Madrid and Rangers.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam