Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho can see himself emulating his good friend Sir Alex Ferguson and manage at the age of 70 but says his future will not be influenced by whether the Spanish champions win their 10th European crown or not. As Madrid prepare to tackle Borussia Dortmund in the first-leg of their semifinal duel later today, the ‘Special One’ was keen to stress that his club’s interests came before anything else.
Q Jose, Real Madrid are getting closer and closer to their 10th European Cup - but still there are rumours about your future. Do you need to win the Champions League this year to stay at the Bernabeu?
A "All teams are here to win, everyone wants to win this title. My future has nothing to do with whether we win the Champions League or not."
Q So what happens at the end of the season? Are you heading for England?
A "When the season ends, I will sit down with who I have to sit down with like the president, who as well as being the president is also my friend. We will sit down quietly and talk about my future, like two friends."
Q There was talk of a demonstration and a march from Real Madrid fans to show how many of them want you to stay. Did you appreciate that?
A "I appreciate it but I don't like it. Football is what happens in the stadium, support should be shown in the stadium and it should be shown to the team, not to specific people. I don't like individual support because football is a collective sport. The club is more important than us. The support that I really want is for the players on the pitch. They are the ones that have to fight and win for us so that's the support that I really want."
Q It is a problem that everyone is talking about your future instead of about the big matches coming up?
A "I am not important. The results are important for Real Madrid, that's the most important thing. That is what matters, not me and not my future. We have two possible objectives: we have the Copa del Rey and the Champions League. Let's see if we can finish the season in a way that is worthy of a club this size. At the end of the season, we'll see what will happen. But I repeat: what matters is Real Madrid."
Q Let's talk about the Champions League. It's Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals for Real - a team who you lost to and drew with in the group stages. What do you expect from these ties?
A "The semi-finals will be two big games to enjoy and give everything in. But the semi-finals are not the objective of the club and I know that; we want to win the trophy."
Q So what do you think of Dortmund?
A "We know what to expect. They are a good team and we have to respect them. This is a team that has won two leagues in Germany and that's not happened by chance. It's a very strong team. Strong, very direct, a very good team. And I said at the group stage that if they got through they could win this tournament.
"They are very strong on the counter-attack and in transitional play. Their players are creative and quick but at the same time rigorous in defence. It is going to be complicated but I think we can get a good result.”
Q What did you learn about them from playing in the group stages?
A "They are well organised and very experienced, with many international-calibre players from Germany, and the top two from Poland. Their stadium and fans are impressive too.
"We lost the game in Germany and we learned a lot. I told my players that they were going to score their goals on the counterattack, and so it happened. So we have to be ready."
Q The problem for Real Madrid is that your record of playing in Germany isn't good - only one win ever on Germany soil?
A "But it's not about what country you play in. We have lost games there because the opponents are always very good, not because of any psychological problems. It's difficult to play against teams that are ambitious as we are - and nothing more complicated than that."
Q You played against Galatasaray in the last round and went through - but there was a bit of a scare in the second leg when you lost 3-2. Was that a nervy moment?
A "I had no time to be nervous. I don't have time to feel nervous on the sidelines. I knew Galatasaray are strong and they did not play with 11 men - they played with 50,000 incredible supporters. It was hard for us and they deserved to win. But we got through which is what matters."
Q The important thing was that Real Madrid stood up to the atmosphere and the tension?
A "Yes. In this kind of match we had everything to lose and nothing to gain. But I have always felt these players are ready to work and have great motivation to get to the finish line and play in the final. That's what we have to do now."
Q It hasn't been an easy run for Real in this competition, has it? You had Manchester United in the last 16 too! It sounded like you enjoyed your trip to Old Trafford - could you ever see yourself replacing Sir Alex Ferguson one day? Some people say you are lined up to be his successor..
A "I don't believe so. I think we have to end our career at the same time. Ferguson at 90 and me at 70!"
Q You can still see yourself as a manager at that kind of age?
A "I imagine, yes. Because I think it is the kind of job where the older you are the better you are. The experiences we live and the thoughts we give to our experiences make you better. I would love that God gives me health so that I can do it. Sir Alex is unique and I don’t have any words that can add to what everybody thinks about him and the respect he deserves from everybody. But can I see myself managing at his age? Why not?"
Professional Management Group
Professional Management Group