• Champions League

Mourinho not giving up final hope

ESPN staff
April 24, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »

Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho is confident his side are capable of clawing back a three-goal deficit against Borussia Dortmund after they were beaten 4-1 in their Champions League semi-final first leg.

Poland striker Robert Lewandowski fired four goals in a fine individual display as Dortmund followed fellow Germans Bayern Munich's example of dominating Spanish opposition in European competition this week.

Mourinho conceded that Dortmund deserved their victory and called for an improvement across the board if Real are to stand a chance of reaching the May's Champions League final at Wembley.

"I think they were the best team by far and won every individual battle on the pitch and were stronger than us, more aggressive physically and tougher mentally so they deserved it," Mourinho told Sky Sports 1.

"How it went from 1-1 to 4-1, I really don't know because everything happened in a very short space of time in the far goal from the position where I was. But we lost easy possession and we couldn't cope with their counter-attacking and their transition.

"We prepared for the game so well, in every detail, as we always do, especially in a semi-final. We prepared for everything, we were ready for everything. We are very confident about the work we did. I think many of the boys didn't perform and many of the boys didn't have a good night and this is exactly when you cannot make mistakes because at club level this is the second most important match in the world of football.

"The first one is the Champions league final, the second one is the Champions League semi-final so when you don't perform on a very special day it is very disappointing."

Asked if a place in the final was still a realistic possibility, Mourinho said: "It is of course very difficult but in football it can happen. Of course we can, on a crazy night, where everyone performs at a high level and every chance you have and every goal you score is with a high level of efficiency. Of course you can."

Mourinho was particularly disappointed with his side's inability to handle Lewandowski, a player he had spent time scouting ahead of the match.

"When we know everything, absolutely everything about Lewandowski - we studied every detail possible and we lose him in three balls - and we know exactly what he does, and it is of course very disappointing," the Portuguese said.

"When I lose and I don't deserve to lose, for me it is a problem. When I lose and I deserve to lose it's a situation that I accept.

"The first goal we lost the ball in easy possession and after that we lost the player. His movement in the box, we know everything about him, so of course he deserves credit for what he did but we gave him a big support for him to be the man of the match."

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