Madrid – Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho insisted Thursday that the Champions League duel with Manchester United, which will probably decide his fate and legacy in Spain, is far from finished.
The two sides battled out a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their last-16 tie at the Bernabeu, a result which should give United a slight edge ahead of the return at Old Trafford on March 5.
But Mourinho, already a Champions League-winning coach with Porto and Inter Milan, backed his Real team to score again in Manchester.
“We can definitely score at Old Trafford, many teams have done already this season and they'll know that,” said Mourinho, whose side fell behind to a Danny Welbeck goal on Wednesday before former United star Cristiano Ronaldo levelled.
“Because of the football culture in England I don't think they can play as defensively there.
“It's easy to understand – if they score first we have to score, if we score first we're in the lead.”
The Portuguese coach was defiant about the pressure facing him going into the second leg.
“I don't feel pressure, I work well to do my best job. Real Madrid can score goals away, life goes on. See you all in three weeks' time,” said Mourinho.
United manager Alex Ferguson was the happier with his side's performance and the result, picking out goalkeeper David De Gea, back in his home city, Welbeck and Phil Jones for special praise.
“I thought De Gea was excellent and made four or five top saves, but he's been performing well all season, he's done well,” said Ferguson.
“We would have taken 1-1 before the game. In the first-half I was disappointed at how deep we played, but the away goal is important. It's not finished but it gives us a good chance to go through.
“We had four attacking players in our team so I think we came to win the game. We were deep especially in the first-half, but we made chances.
“We'll play differently at home. They counter-attack very well but we have goals in our team. It's still 50-50 but the team that scores first will have a good chance.”
Asked why captain Nemanja Vidic, who has battled a knee injury for large parts of the season, did not start, Ferguson admitted that Jonny Evans and Rio Ferdinand were better options.
“I played Vidic against Everton (on Sunday), because I thought it was more his game. He can only play every eight or nine days, like Rio, and we didn't have enough days to get him right.” – Sapa-AFP