MADRID, Spain, March 13 – Jose Mourinho has played down suggestions his job as Real Madrid coach will be on the line if the Spaniards fail to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals against CSKA Moscow.
Although the tie is delicately poised following a 1-1 draw in Moscow, Real are widely regarded as favourites to advance to the quarter-finals of Europe’s premier club competition in Wednesday’s second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Mourinho said he feared the unpredictable nature of the game more than the ramifications a defeat would have on his job.
“My future won’t be decided by Wednesday’s result, unless the club fire me if we don’t qualify,” said the Portuguese, whose side top the Spanish league with a 10-point lead on arch rivals Barcelona.
“But from my point of view it (result) won’t change a thing.
“The first leg was a complicated result which leaves things quite open. Looking to tomorrow I’m more afraid of the game, which can produce all sorts of surprises.”
Mourinho is also hoping his spell as coach of Chelsea and Inter Milan — he won the Champions League with the latter at the Bernabeu in 2010 — will be beneficial.
“I know CSKA from when I was at Chelsea and at Inter and I know they’re a complicated team to play,” he added.
“They come at you quickly, are quick on the counter-attack and are strong in defence. But I think we have the tools to overcome them.”
Mourinho meanwhile was coy when asked which of his two strikers would play Wednesday, with Gonzalo Higuain back on top form and Karim Benzema recovered from injury.
“I had a problem when Higuain was not on form or when Benzema was injured. Right now, that problem doesn’t exist,” added Mourinho.
“On the contrary, having both of them available is the best thing possible.”