Real Madrid manager, Jose Mourinho, has spoken about the difficulties that Real Madrid will face in the Champions League this season and is wary of the threat that City pose.
Along with with Spanish Champions Madrid, City have been drawn alongside German Champions Borussia Dortmund and Dutch Champions Ajax in the so called “group of death”. He said.
Manchester City are powerful because they have players at the highest world level. City are a team built to win the Champions League. The objective of the investment, made year after year, is to lift the European Cup. It will be tough. Tough for Real Madrid and tough for them because Madrid are Madrid. Dortmund are two-time champions of Germany, a top team full of internationals, many from Germany and the best players from Poland. They are picking up experience in the Champions League, they have an impressive stadium and fans who support them till the end. With Ajax you never know, they could give you trouble. There is no margin for error.
Although Mourinho is confident that Madrid can progress from the group he is wary of the affect such a tough group could have on the two teams that qualify for the knockout phase. He said:
The two teams who come through our group, we will not reach the knockout phase in the same conditions as the other 14. We will need to be at our best from the first minute and in every game through the group phase with the maximum of intensity, concentration, commitment and pressure. We will arrive at the quarter-finals with effort in our legs and our heads. The others will arrive fresher, and without yellow cards or suspensions, having rotated players to control the numbers of minutes played. We will arrive with physical and mental fatigue.
The former Chelsea manager also revealed he welcomed UEFA’s forthcoming Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, as he claims they would work in favour of Madrid and other big, traditional clubs. He said:
There will be difficulties for clubs which are not well structured, although they have wallets full of money. Madrid’s structures are well prepared for this, and we can enter successfully into the new era. We have the potential and history to keep our best players, Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas, Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain. Everyone in our squad, Barca, too. But clubs which live just from the investments from their owners will not have it so easy, because they do not have the structures of the historic clubs. In that way, Financial Fair Play will be good for football.
He went onto say:
Madrid, Barca, Bayern … these clubs have unique historic capital. The trophies, the European Cups, the history, the fans … things you cannot buy with money. The best players will want to be at these clubs, the three I have mentioned and some others who have trophy cabinets full for almost a century. That is a determining factor for the players.
City certainly have their work cut out if they are to progress from the Champions League group stage and also fall in line with FFP regulations.