Mourinho backs Manchester City for future Champions League success

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has predicted Manchester City will win the Champions League in the near future if they continue developing at their current rate.

The two-time European Cup winner Mourinho will guide his side against the Premier League champions in their opening Champions League match on Tuesday evening and the Portuguese has likened City’s investment-fuelled progression to that of his former club Chelsea’s after Russian billionaire Roman Abramovic took control of the west London outfit.

Mourinho told reporters: “I don’t think it is very different to Chelsea.

“Since Roman bought the club, [Claudio] Ranieri was the first coach, then I came and we won the first league, some cups and some more titles. Carlo [Ancelotti] then came and they continued to win and finally they won the Champions League.

“With City it started off with Mark Hughes, they started spending money and buying good players.

“Then Roberto [Mancini] came and he has done a very good job. He has created a great squad, the first cup then the first title arrived.

“I don’t know if it is this season or next season with Roberto, or with another person in the future, but normally in the direction the club is going, sooner or later they will win the big cup.”

Mourinho, who led Real Madrid to the Liga title last season, has endured a sticky start to the new domestic campaign but refutes suggestions he is set to make wholesale changes to the starting line-up.

“The line-up will not be very different, nor will I try to show any player that they are not in the best condition,” he insisted. “It will be the best that I consider to play against opposition full of players of the highest level.

“I don’t believe I have created doubts. The principal person responsible is me. When my teams win, we win together, and when we lose, I am the one responsible.

“Before losing to Sevilla I said to the players what I then said in the press conference. For this reason it is not a criticism but a conviction. I said it to them before the game.

“Football is about today and tomorrow, not yesterday. Yesterday is history. I haven’t been able to keep my players motivated and concentrated at the top level and that is my fault.”

Mourinho ended by dismissing claims he was under external pressure to deliver results at the Bernabeu and insisted he was just as motivated for the Manchester City clash as any other.

“At this level, players and managers have already won things,” he said. “All of us have titles, professional and economic stability, we needn’t be worried about people nor waiting on their reaction,” he continued.

“No one pressures me, I pressure myself. No one motivates me, I motivate myself also.

“To play against City motivates me as much as playing against Getafe. To win the Champions League motivates me like any other match. Motivation is something intrinsic to the job.

“The conviction is that tomorrow we will have a team. A determined, compact and solid team.”

'Kaka would not have been treated like this at Barcelona' – Dani Alves

Ricardo Kaka - Real Madrid

Ricardo Kaka – Real Madrid

Barcelona defender Dani Alves recently has hit out at Real Madrid for their treatment of Kaka, claiming that his fellow Brazilian would be more valued at Camp Nou.

The former World Player of the Year has struggled to secure a starting role or even consistent playing time since joining Los Merengues in 2009, having struggled with injuries and inconsistency.

The 30-year-old was widely linked with a move back to AC Milan in the close season, and the former Sevilla man is adamant that his compatriot should have departed the Santiago Bernabeu.

“If I were Kaka, I would have left Real Madrid a long time ago,” the right-back explained to Esporte Interactivo.

“Because in my life, I love playing football, and if you take away from me what I love, I lose my sense of life. I am sad because I admire Kaka and I would not like to live through what is happening to him.

“He made it to where very few have – the best in the world, and now he has no respect from their owners. I think he would not be going through this situation at Barcelona.”

The 29-year-old then went on to voice his admiration for former coach Pep Guardiola, who left the Camp Nou dug-out for a sabbatical, having become exhausted.

“Guardiola is the best coach I’ve had, the most complete, someone that you learn something from everyday.

“That’s the difference with other coaches. He says: ‘trust me and we will win the game’. So I admire him because he is a coach that can convince you that his is the way to win.”

Mourinho: I'm the only one to blame for Real Madrid's current situation

Jose Mourinho has taken the blame for Real Madrid’s current situation after the Spanish champions slumped to a second Liga defeat against Sevilla on Saturday.

Los Blancos have won just one league game this season, and currently sit eight points adrift of Barcelona in the race to defend their domestic crown.

The Portuguese trainer was quick to claim that he ‘didn’t have a team’ at the moment, but has now taken the pressure off his side ahead of their Champions League opener with Manchester City on Tuesday.

“I am the only one to blame,” the coach told TVE.

“The responsibility for the terrible start to the season is on me. Real Madrid can lose, but not the way we have been losing.”

The Blancos coach then disagreed with calls for his side to focus solely on the Champions League under the short-sighted idea that that La Liga has already been lost.

I do not think a club like Madrid can play a single competition, and decide to stop trying in one to focus playing on the Champions League.

He also denied rumours that he might leave the club before his contract is finished after such a poor start to the campaign.

I‘m already preparing the 2013-2014 season, here things are prepared professionally.”

Aguero to travel with Manchester City squad ahead of Real Madrid clash, confirms Mancini

Sergio Aguero will make the journey to Spain ahead of Manchester City’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid, Roberto Mancini has confirmed.

The Argentine has been sidelined with a knee injury since the Premier League champions’ opening-day victory over Southampton, and was not risked for Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Stoke.

Despite concerns still remaining over Aguero’s fitness, Mancini is set to gamble on the 24-year-old making a full recovery in time for Tuesday’s tie, and even hinted at a possible start at Santiago Bernabeu.

“I think he can have a chance,” Mancini said. “Sergio will travel with us.

“He worked with the team in the last three days before the Stoke game. We didn’t want to take any risks with him – but maybe he can be ready for Madrid.

“Will he start? I don’t know.”

Another player who has overcome a troubled start to the campaign is Gareth Barry, who returned to first-team action as a substitute at the Britannia Stadium.

“I’m happy for Gareth after three months to play again,” added Mancini. “It’s important for us because he’s an important player and he had 30 minutes and did well.”

Betting: Another slip for Mourinho's men sees Barcelona cut to 2/7 for La Liga crown

Although the season’s early fixtures were not the easiest, many would have expected Jose Mourinho’s side to have more than four points to show for their first four league matches. The title holders now sit 13th ahead of their first Champions League clash with Manchester City.

A solitary win at home to Granada was preceded and followed by away defeats against Getafe and Sevilla respectively and Madrid also failed to beat Valencia in their opening match of the domestic season, drawing 1-1 at Bernabeu.

Madrid can now be backed at 11/4 (3.75) with Bet365 to add La Liga to their Supercopa victory, a price that is sure to interest value hunters given how early it is in the season.

With punters and bookmakers alike struggling to split the two Spanish heavyweights in pre-season, Madrid’s start has given rivals Barcelona the early advantage, not least because Tito Vilanova’s side have made a perfect start to the campaign, winning their first four league matches.

The Catalan giants are now as short at 2/7 (1.29) with Bet365 to win the league, a price which is unlikely to see a huge amount of support, especially with Barcelona yet to take on Real Madrid in the league this season and the rigours of European competition likely to affect both clubs fortunes in the upcoming months.

The odds suggest La Liga is still a two horse race with nearest challengers Atletico Madrid available at 66/1 (67.0) while Valencia are 100/1 (101.0) shots.

Real Madrid and Barcelona have long been considered “bankers” for punters’ weekly accumulators but the betting public may be forced to think twice when considering back Madrid given their shaky start.

All eyes will be on their Champions League clash with English champions Manchester City, before Jose Mourinho leads his side to take on Rayo Vallecano on Sunday evening. The first domestic meeting of Barcelona and Real Madrid takes place on October 7.

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Jim Knight is Betting Editor at and has been tipping football games since he was old enough to place a bet. He is a Leicester City fan, writer and member of the We Are Going Up Podcast
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