"Real Madrid's recent history has seen the team struggle against teams from other divisions and the match against Ponferradina will most likely be complicated"
Diego Jabalquinto / Translation by Michael J. O'Donnel
Jose Mourinho addressed the media the day before facing Ponferradina in the first leg of the Copa del Rey Round of 32.
"We said neither winning against Barcelona and having a 6-point cushion, nor losing and being tied in points, would make us lose our calm. Winning makes you happier than being defeated, but that's different to losing balance. I wouldn't swap the situation we're in with anyone's: we're the best team in the history of the Champions League group stage and no other side has as many points as us in La Liga, having played one less game in the competition. There are only three possibilities for us: we either draw in points with Barcelona, or top the table with a one or three-point cushion over them. I wouldn't exchange that with anybody."
"We're all in the same situation in the Copa del Rey, while in La Liga we have an advantage over every side save those who've played one more game. The 32 teams in the Copa have the same chances of winning the title. These championships are different. I understand the motivation of our opponent tomorrow will be greater, but we'll have to try to bring them down having a performance like the one we gave in Murcia last year. We played a serious game then and drew the clash, experiencing many difficulties with many of our regular starters. Real Madrid's recent history has seen the team struggle against teams from lower divisions, just like other First Division teams have. The match against Ponferradina will most likely be complicated."
"Fabio faced Ajax and Barcelona and won't play tomorrow. The same goes for Alonso and Benzema. Di Maria is suspended. But we'll have Cristiano, Ramos... and footballers who have to play. We'll have a team capable of at least earning a result that gives us the chance to seal the round at home, if not of sentencing the tie right away. I haven't seen most of the men who played on Saturday. They've had yesterday and today off because they are extremely hard and serious workers. Those on my squad list are ready."
"Arbeloa wasn't fit on Saturday, but was on the bench anyway because I felt he'd be delighted to give me 20 or 25 minutes if needed. But he's not ready to play, although he's getting better and I believe he'll play one of the other two remaining games left before Christmas. I hope he fully recovers from the problem he's had since he returned from Costa Rica."
"Varane, Altintop and Sahin will be starters tomorrow due to necessity. With each new day I increasingly feel Varane will be a starter at Real Madrid in the next 10 years. He is a great player and only 18 years old; it seems we sometimes forget just how mature he is both personally and in football. The other two need to play because they recently recovered from injuries. Every minute is crucial to them. They'll play."
"I'm motivated to see my name next to Miguel Muñoz's as the only ones in history to have 15 straight victories with Real Madrid. Of course it motivates me. We're leaders in the Champions League and co-leaders in La Liga. This is such a great and successful club... It's won so many titles and has such dimension that every defeat seems to be a problem. The fault lies with the incredible dimension this club has on a social level. But I'd rather lose our last game and be leaders with the chance of becoming sole leaders next Saturday. I wouldn't swap my place with anyone's."
"I only spoke to my players for five minutes before training. I explained to all of them, including those who will make their debut in the Copa del Rey, the history of this club in the competition and the problems other First Division sides have experienced against teams from lower divisions. I wanted them to know just how difficult tomorrow's game will be."
"Our match against Sevilla will also be very difficult. We've had an extremely difficult run in November and December: we played the derby at home, the Clasico also at home, travelled to Valencia and Gijon... These two months have been tougher on us than on anyone else, but our main objective still lies ahead. We'll be sole leaders if we win in Seville, and it would be good to achieve that at this stage. We'd be leaders if we only took one point."
( source: realmadrid.com )