If you listen to Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho, his team has Manchester United on the ropes.
Mourinho says his team can score goals in the return leg of their Champions League elimination series. (Which happens in three weeks, on March 6. That gap? Way. Too. Long. We all want more of what tasted Tuesday.)
Mourinho has never been a bit short of confidence or bluster, so none of this is surprising. Neither is that he almost criticized the visitor’s tactics in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu, a match teeming with exceptional theater, one that absolutely lived up to its marquee billing.
It’s not exactly true that Manchester United played an overly defensive match. As Sir Alex Ferguson pointed out, that did put out an attacking lineup, featuring Wayne Rooney, Robin van Perise, Danny Welbeck and Shinji Kagawa. United did get caught defending too deeply in the first half.
But they pressed further up the field after the break and went hunting for the game-winner into the match’s final minutes.
I won’t criticize what they did – they got the result they wanted. We can score at Old Trafford. Many teams have done so at Old Trafford and no team with our attacking quality has played there.
I don’t think, with the British culture, that United will play with all their defenders in their half, as they did here. I am expecting a very strong opponent [then] with very good players, but I am confident and 100 percent sure we can do this. It is 50-50; it is a draw. They scored an away goal and we can do that as well. I like to play first game at home because when you play first game away, the tendency is to be unhappy with the score.”