“Maybe in Jose’s situation he can make changes simply because the priority is the European Cup, but Real never want to lose to Barca so he has to play a strong team in that game. But I think both teams are in a programme of playing game after game so it’ll be interesting."
When asked if the media speculation regarding Mourinho’s future at the Bernabeu might affect the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’, Sir Alex stated his belief that his great friend will thrive in the spotlight and praised the former Chelsea manager’s work in the Spanish capital.
“It’s always been important to them, the European Cup, and I don’t think it (pressure) necessarily applies to Jose as I think he’s done a great job there. He’s really built up a terrific squad of players and could play two teams, like us. I don’t think it applies to him but you never know in football.
“I don’t think there’s any secrecy in his own desire to win the European Cup as, don’t forget, he’d be the only person to win it with three different teams so it’s a fantastic challenge for Jose.”
The two managers have enjoyed a friendly rivalry since first competing against one another during United’s Champions League defeat to Porto in 2004. And although Mourinho has the better record from 14 previous meetings, Sir Alex is adamant he’s still on top.
“I think he’s pitting his wits against me,” the boss joked. “I think it’s a great challenge – the two biggest clubs in the world and obviously it’s a big game for us.”