Man City's failures 'not normal', says Mourinho
MANCHESTER (AFP) –
Jose Mourinho says Manchester City’s Champions League struggles are “not normal” and believes they will go out of the competition even if they beat his team on Wednesday.
City must defeat Madrid at the Etihad Stadium and then win their final Group D game at Borussia Dortmund to stand any chance of reaching the last 16, but Mourinho feels the game is already up for Roberto Mancini’s men.
Beaten 3-2 by Madrid in their opening group game, the English champions have picked up only two points from their four matches to date and Mourinho says their problems in continental competition are hard to explain.
“I don’t think it’s normal when you’re out of the competition at a very early stage,” the Madrid coach said on Tuesday.
“I speak for myself. If Real Madrid loses a final or a semi-final or a quarter-final, that’s football. When you are out at the group phase, it’s more difficult to accept and to understand.
“Last season (City) were out (in the group phase). I think this season they will be out again. I think they can win tomorrow (Wednesday), of course, and I think they can win in Dortmund, but eight points is not enough.
“I think they’re out for the second consecutive time, so that must be difficult for them.”
Mourinho will lead a team out in the Champions League for the 100th time on Wednesday and at 49, he is the youngest coach to reach that milestone.
For all his success at Madrid, who he led to last season’s La Liga title, he has repeatedly voiced a desire to return to work in England.
The former Chelsea manager reiterated his praise of English football on Tuesday, but said the qualities that attract him to the country mean his side face a stern test against City.
“I always said how much I loved my time here and I always like to be back,” he said.
“I know when you play in England you have difficult matches, difficult opponents, difficult atmosphere, because the crowd is always very strong behind the team, but I like that.
“I enjoy that and I think also my players are happy to play in England.”
He added: The beauty of my experience is the chance I had to leave my country, to go around England, Italy, Spain, and to get the best and the worst of these experiences to make me a better manager.
“That’s normal when you have experience of the most important countries. The normal thing is to evaluate, decide where you are happier, and make a choice for the future.”
However, he refused to discuss the chances of a return to England, saying: “I don’t think it’s interesting to talk about my future. We’re here to talk about a Champions League game.”
The Portuguese, who is under contract at Madrid until 2016, also said he had no qualms about being pipped to the Spanish Coach of the Year award by outgoing Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola last week.
“I was happy with the decision because being coach of the year is something that I’ve had the luck to have before — twice in England, in Portugal, and in Italy,” he said. “So it wouldn’t be a new feeling for me.”
Madrid trail group leaders Dortmund by a point ahead of Wednesday’s games and Mourinho says Cristiano Ronaldo‘s last-minute winner in the opening 3-2 win over City in September was a pivotal moment in their campaign.
“Almost for sure, if City had won that match, the history would be different,” he said.
“But we had a fantastic reaction in that match and won it. Those three points are crucial for us to be in a position where we depend only on ourselves and we are in good conditions to qualify.”