Quarter-final first lef, kick-off: 19:45 (BST)
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho believes a goalless home draw against Tottenham Hotspur would represent a “good result” in Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg tie.
Mourinho’s nine-year unbeaten home league record as a coach came to an end as his Real Madrid side lost 1-0 to Sporting Gijon on Saturday, but the Portuguese was keen to focus on tonight’s game with Spurs.
“It’s time to think about the Champions League,” he said. “This is a match many teams would like to play in and not all can. It’s a few years since Madrid reached this round and a few years since the Bernabéu saw this stage. Whoever is playing in the quarter-finals has only got to think about that.
“A draw at home is always a good result in the Champions League, especially if it’s 0-0. Harry Redknapp is my friend and I’m very happy because when I was in England he didn’t have the chances he has now. If I don’t reach the final I want him to do it. He would be ready to face the challenge of being coach of the England team.
“Rafa [van der Vaart] made a good decision choosing Tottenham. I always want to see players happy and I think he is happy now. He could be a good player for us, too. He made his decision and we made ours when we chose [Mesut] Ozil.”
Nine-times winners Real have Cristiano Ronaldo back from injury, but Mourinho is without several key players. Definitely missing are the in-form Karim Benzema and Fernando Gago, while Angel di Maria and Kaká remain doubts.
Mourinho’s Spurs counterpart Harry Redknapp, meanwhile, looks set to have Gareth Bale available as he plans to stick to his attacking principles at Santiago Bernabéu.
“Bale gives us everything,” said the Spurs boss. “He can carry the ball and attack very quickly. He is fine and if he is OK he will play. He could be very important for us. It’s a difficult game – Real Madrid are favourites, but we come here very optimistic. Real Madrid have fantastic players and we have to deal with that.
“We will try to give them problems and try to avoid the problems they give to us. It’s not important if they have lost their record at home. Real Madrid are one of the great clubs in football. We must start the game well like we did in Milan.
“We don’t have defensive players, they’re not here, so we have what we have. They are attacking players. We approach the game in the same way. It’s been tough from the start − we have had no easy games. The only pressure we have is to play well. We will try to make the dream come true – we still have a chance.”
William Gallas will undergo a late fitness test, but Redknapp will be without defensive quartet Alan Hutton, Ledley King, Jonathan Woodgate and Younes Kaboul. Midfielder Steven Pienaar is absent with a groin injury, while Nico Krancjar remains a doubt.