Mourinho: The world will stop to watch us play

Jose Mourinho declares that Real Madrid are ready to take on Manchester United at Old Trafford in a tie that resembles a cup final more than anything else.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid

Real Madrid will have everything to play for on Tuesday evening in the second leg of the Champions League last-16 second-leg clash after a 1-1 draw two weeks ago at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Mourinho is aware that the pressure will be on when the two giants in world football clash and assures that his side are more than ready for the crunch match.

"Everyone is fit and ready to play and be considered, with the exception of Iker Casillas," Mourinho said ahead of the second leg of the last-16 tie.

"We are sorry we had to travel yesterday (because of a baggage handlers strike) because we don't like to wait.

"The emotion is high and we want to play.

"Tomorrow [Tuesday] the world will stop to watch this tie, which doesn't look like a tie it looks like a final."

The match marks the first return of ex-United forward Cristiano Ronaldo to Old Trafford, and much of the pre-match focus has been on him with Sir Alex Ferguson having spoken in glowing terms about his former charge.

"I think he is fine, as far as I am aware," the Madrid boss added.

"I think any accolade he gets is more than deserved and I think the reception he will get from the crowd will be deserved.

"I am aware how well he did here and what an impact he had at the club."

With the tie finely balanced at 1-1 Mourinho knows small details will be crucial.

"I think they (United) will be very defensive when we have the ball and I think it will be the same for us when we have the ball," he added.

"They are a very strong attacking side and we will have to defend stoutly and well when they have the ball.

"Even though we are effectively behind with the away goal we will have to attack and be bold also."

Mourinho also confirmed goalkeeper Iker Casillas will not face United.

The 31-year-old Spain international only returned to training on Thursday after sustaining a broken hand against Valencia on January 23 and, although he travelled with the squad, he will not be considered.

"Everyone is fit and ready to play and be considered, with the exception of Iker Casillas," the Portuguese said.

Mourinho insists there will be no repeat of his famous dash down the Old Trafford touchline if his side progress to the Champions League quarter-finals at the expense of Manchester United.

Nine years ago, at the same stage of the competition, the Portuguese celebrated in such a manner after a last-minute Costinha goal sent FC Porto through on their way to winning the competition.

But the 50-year-old, who has also won the Champions League with Inter Milan, stressed he has mellowed since his brash days as the relative youngster who took European football by storm.

"That match was my first season in the Champions League. Now I have more than 100 matches and I can control my emotions in a different way," said Mourinho, whose side have to overcome the handicap of an away goal with the tie poised at 1-1.

"I look at the situation with different emotions and the approach is completely different.

"If I lose I don't cry. If I win, I don't run the 100 metres.

"But the happiness and sadness will be the same; whether I am sleeping well or not, whether I laugh a lot on the plane or pretend I am asleep.

"That is the same story."

All four of Spain's Champions League representatives - Real, Barcelona, Malaga and Valencia (the three of whom trail their opponents) - find themselves in testing second leg situations.

But Mourinho, who has just masterminded two victories over arch-rivals Barca in the Copa del Rey and league, does not believe that represents a power-shift.

"Everyone knows at this moment Spanish football is dominating in terms of national teams and clubs, but at this moment all the Spanish teams in the Champions League are in difficult positions," he said.

"If the Spanish teams next week are out of the Champions League it doesn't mean Spanish football is collapsing - that is football and it can happen.

"Manchester City went out because the draw had something strange to be put in the same group as Dortmund, and Real Madrid and Chelsea were also in a very difficult group with Shakhtar and Juventus.

"Last year Spanish football was also in trouble with the Champions League and you now have a very strong Juventus and Milan - who had fantastic first legs - so results sometimes don't reflect the situation."



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