Jose Mourinho sat down with us for an exclusive interview after his press conference on Tuesday evening to talk about the big UEFA Champions League clash against Juventus at the Allianz Stadium tonight (Wednesday). Here is what the manager had to say...
Firstly Jose, is morale good after the dramatic late victory over Bournemouth at the weekend?
“The good thing about these boys is that the morale is always good but obviously we know that in the last few matches, apart from Juventus when we lost, we had some good results – coming from behind in quite a dramatic way against Newcastle and against Bournemouth. So, yes, the mood is fine, we are speaking about a happy group.”
'Juve game will not decide group'Video
How important is it to start the match well when you’re playing against a team of such quality like Juventus?
“It’s always difficult but obviously when you don’t start well against these solid teams, you saw it against them at Old Trafford. In the second half, we were much more dominant, we tried, we tried, we tried but they were so solid and compact behind. [They are] so experienced, real know-how to be in these situations that in the end they felt quite comfortable, in spite of us hitting the post and having a couple more occasions [where we came close] but it’s really, really difficult. In this stadium [the Allianz Stadium], they’re very, very hot with the support that they have, with the fantastic record they have at home, with the great confidence they have. If we give them an advantage, it will be very hard [for us].”
Going back to Old Trafford was a big deal for Cristiano Ronaldo a fortnight ago. Will it be similar for Paul Pogba coming back to Turin this time around?
“I imagine yes, in the same way Cristiano was professional – he did his job, fought for his team and gave everything he had to give. I can imagine with Paul it’s going to be the same – a little bit of emotion now, I think even at the beginning of the match, yes for sure. But then, it’s football and he’s wearing a United shirt with the United crest and he has to fight for [it].”
Finally, how do you get past that Juventus defensive wall of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci that you praised two weeks ago?
“It’s not easy, it’s not easy. They have the quality, the know-how, the confidence – they have absolutely everything. I analyse them in many different circumstances. Even with one player less [after Cristiano Ronaldo’s red card] against Valencia [on matchday one], they were very, very comfortable defensively. I’ve coached in Italy [at Inter Milan] and know the strength of the Italian teams and the Italian players in the way they approach matches defensively, so it’s not easy. But we have talented players in attack, we have creative players who can give them problems too. I think the basic thing for us is to go from a solid situation where we don’t make many mistakes behind because when you make mistakes behind, sometimes you concede goals and other times you lose confidence.”
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