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Mourinho plays down favourites tag

Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho denied having ‘a magic potion’ for beating Barcelona ahead of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.In charge of eventual winners Inter Milan, the Portuguese coach orchestrated a 3-2 aggregate victory over Barca at the same stage of the competition last season.

And he recorded a 1-0 win against Pep Guardiola’s team in the Copa del Rey final last Wednesday, adding to the growing belief that Mourinho has a secret formula for beating the Catalan giants.

But in a press conference ahead of the semi-final first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, the 48-year-old insisted he was no magician.

“Not long ago I was speaking to a television channel and I told them that I am the same coach that lost 5-0 against Barcelona two months ago,” Mourinho said.

“I am a hard worker and I put in a lot of hours to help those around me. But I was the coach of this team two months ago, which is why I don’t accept the notion that I have a magic potion.”

“I am a natural motivator,” Mourinho added.

“First I have to motivate myself and then I motivate my players. Before the Cup final all I told them was a statement made by Einstein: ‘There is a driving force more powerful than steam, electricity and atomic energy… the will’.”

Despite gaining a 1-1 draw against Barca in La Liga, followed by their Copa del Rey triumph, Mourinho maintains the outcome of the European Cup clash is too close to call.

“It will be an evenly fought tie,” he said.

“There are no favourites. The two teams know each other well and both have players that have played in important matches and who know how to produce victories.”

“We played great at the Bernabeu and in the Copa final, but we are up against a top-class coach and team.”

“We know that each competition is different and that each match has its own history.”

“I don’t know how Barcelona are morale-wise. Ours is the same had we not won the Copa final.”

“You never head to the Camp Nou with a secure lead … it would be normal for everything to be up in the air for the return leg.”

Article title: Mourinho plays down favourites tag

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