Mourinho desperate to win his third Champions League

Monday, February 21, 2011

MADRID - Jose Mourinho has a burning ambition to fulfil this spring. The Real Madrid boss is desperate to become the first coach to win three Champions Leagues with three different teams.

Mourinho rose to prominence in 2004 by guiding rank outsiders FC Porto to Champions glory. Last year he repeated that trick with Inter Milan.

Now his plan is to complete a unique treble by winning the trophy with Real, the fallen aristocrats of European football.

Mourinho knows that he needs to win at least one trophy this season in order to justify his sky-high salary, the highest ever in the history of football. In the Spanish league, Real are five points behind leaders Barcelona, who will face the whites in the April 20 King’s Cup final.

After Saturday’s 2-0 home win over lowly Levante, Mourinho started to turn his attention to Tuesday’s Champions round of 16 first leg away to French giants Lyon.

Mourinho knows full well that he will have to defy recent history in order to reach the quarter-finals.

Real have not managed to beat Lyon in six matches over the past six years. Last season Claude Puel’s side eliminated Real at the round of 16 stage on a 2-1 aggregate.

Moreover, Real have been unable to reach the quarters since 2004, year after year crashing out in the round of 16 despite being the highest-spending club in world football.

Saturday, after the Levante win, Mourinho said: “There are two barriers (the two games against Lyon) for us to surmount in order to reach the quarter-finals. It will not be easy for us.”

However, Mourinho has done his homework, as usual. He started his coaching career - at Barcelona in the later 1990s - by preparing dossiers about the opposition for coach Louis Van Gaal, and is never a man to be taken by surprise by the opposing teams.

Needless to say, he has studied Lyon well. He went to see them play away to local rivals Saint-Etienne two weeks ago, and has watched countless videos.

In addition, former France captain Zinedine Zidane - now a special advisor at Real - has written a dossier about Puel’s team.

When asked about Lyon, Mourinho replied: “I am not losing sleep about the game, but right from the day of the draw (in December) I have been working with my people to know all the details about Lyon. We can also count on Zidane, who knows them well.”

Mourinho will have to make two important decisions before Tuesday’s game: whether to go with Sergio Ramos or Alvaro Arbeloa at right-back, and whether to opt for Karim Benzema - the former Lyon idol - or new boy Emmanuel Adebayor upfield alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria.

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