MADRID, Spain, April 2 – Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho is hoping his goalshy team rediscover their goalscoring form in the first-leg of their Champions League quarter-final here against Turkish giants Galatasaray on Wednesday.
Cristiano Ronaldo kept up his imperious form with his 43rd goal of the season in Saturday’s 1-1 draw away at Real Zaragoza, but the lack of goals from other areas of the pitch concerns Mourinho.
“Perhaps that is one of the differences this season,” he said.
“Last season with four chances we would score three goals, we were scoring goals with great ease and the only one who has maintained a similar average has been Cristiano.”
Indeed since the turn of the year, Ronaldo has nearly outscored his teammates single handedly with 21 goals to their combined 23.
However, Mourinho is particularly concerned about the form of strikers Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain.
“All the others have gone down in their numbers of goals and obviously the team feels the consequences.
“The goals will come. If they don’t arrive on Wednesday, then we hope they will do so in the next game, but it is a reality that we are having some difficulties in scoring goals.”
Mourinho also indicated that Iker Casillas would not be involved against the Turkish champions despite returning to training following a hand injury.
Raphael Varane and Fabio Coentrao are though expected to return after missing the Real Zaragoza league game with slight muscle injuries and Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria will start after being rested at the weekend.
Mourinho, though, is determined his side take a lead to Istanbul rather than living on their nerves as they did in the previous round against Manchester United where they drew the first leg in Madrid 1-1.
“It will be tough, but we must try and get a positive result at home in the first leg, which is not what we managed to do against Manchester United (a 1-1 draw in Madrid).
“We must go there with at least a small advantage.”
Mourinho said while some might have felt Galatasaray were one of the easier teams to draw he was not of that opinion.
“This is a team that is used to the Champions League and who not only have two former winners of this competition, (Didier) Drogba and (Wesley) Sneijder, but also players who have played for other top clubs,” he said.
“Players like Emmanuel Eboue who was at Arsenal, Felipe Melo who came from Juventus, Albert Riera from Liverpool and Fernando Muslera from Lazio.
“The team also has an excellent coach (Fatih Terim), the best in Turkey, who also coached at one time in Italy, with a bunch of supporters who are unique.”
Both Drogba and Sneijder have played under Mourinho at Chelsea and Inter Milan respectively and Sneijder has said he enjoyed the best time of his career under the Portuguese at Inter Milan.
“Mourinho is like a second father to me,” he told Spanish sports daily Marca.
“He is a machine. In football we have players who are machines and since I have known Mourinho we can say we have managers who are machines.
“He is a very special person for me. As a coach he is incredible, the number one. He gave me confidence and I enjoyed playing football like never before.
“And as a person he brought a lot more than just his work as a coach. Mourinho is a friend.”
The Dutch international also believes that his side have a chance of progressing if they can ensure the tie is still alive for the return leg in Istanbul.
“For us it is very important to arrive at the game in Istanbul with a realistic chance of going through. If we manage to arrive here with the tie still open it would be incredible.
“Our fans always support the team a lot and anything can happen.”