Jose Mourinho hails ‘brilliant’ Spurs ahead of Euro clash
Real Madrid coach full of praise for Harry Redknapp's Tottenham after two sides were drawn together
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has heaped praise on Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp after the two sides were paired together in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Mourinho, whose side overcame Lyon in midweek to book their place in the quarter-finals for the first time since 2004, is expecting a difficult tie against the north Londoners.
He said: “I’m very happy to play them, not because I think it’s going to be easy – because I don’t think it will be – but because I get to go back to London, to an English stadium and I get to see Harry and I can congratulate him for the great job he’s done.
“I left England in 2007-08 and Spurs were not in the UEFA Cup, they were not even finishing in the first six of the Premier League.
“Martin Jol started the good work and Harry has continued it in amazing ways. I’m so happy for that. He’s a friend, one of the few really good friends I made in England.”
The former Chelsea manager added: “What they’ve done is brilliant. They beat Inter, then they played the team who have won the European Cup the second highest number of times, AC Milan, and now they play Real Madrid, the champion of champions, who have won nine European Cups.
“It will be difficult. I know the mentality of the English teams, the way they play at home, and the character they have of playing with all their heart in every minute of every game.”
Mourinho’s men face a local derby at Atletico Madrid on Saturday evening and the Portuguese coach admits playing Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been suffering with a hamstring strain and only returned to action against Lyon, would be a risk.
“It would be better if the derby was on Sunday,” said Mourinho of Ronaldo. “It’s normal that after so much time without training and then playing 70 minutes against Lyon he’s not in the best condition. If he plays it will be with a risk.”
The Real boss added: “With respect to the fans we cannot joke around. We will give our all at the Calderon and we’ll see if that’s enough. We are very motivated because it will be a very important match.
“Playing a derby is difficult because we’ll face a great team, but at the same time it will also be easier to play because everyone will be more motivated and will give their all.”