Before facing Manchester United tomorrow, Real Madrid did the obligatory press conference with manager – Jose Mourinho briefing the press first and then Michael Essien.
Mourinho spoke to the press first and here is what he said-
We played four competitions this season. Won the Super Copa, lost the league and we remain in two competitions. We can win or not. As I always say, lets assess the season at the end.
Pepe is called up. He has worked hard this week and is ready to play.
(On exit rumours) No. Its easy for you. Let me finish this press conference then maybe you can ask your Spanish colleagues over dinner and hear the stories they have to tell you.
(would not winning Champions League be a failure) Not winning the Champions League would not be a failure. Many big clubs have not won the Champions League and many great managers have not won the Champions League either.
Real Madrid wants to win La Decima, I want to win my third Champions League. I will not end my career with only two Champions Leagues.
This is the biggest game in the world of Football. We all hope for a great match. I know the English football culture and I know Sir Alex is a great coach. I know he’s willing to have a great match tomorrow. Look at this room full of journalists and you understand the relevance of the match.
(Plans for tomorrow) I don’t know if we’ll succeed but we are sure about what we want to do.
(Enjoying the build-up, the scenario?) Yes, I enjoy big matches. All players want to play games of this magnitude. I hope we fulfil the expectations and produce a spectacle. It’s always a privilege, not only when you win, but to face big teams, big managers and great players. I remember the quite well all my matches against Manchester United, not only the good moments but also the bad ones.
(On Marca calling Rooney a hooligan) Honestly, I haven’t read the paper today. I don’t know the context. I support him. I’m called worse things every week.
(this season so far) We’ve been good in Champions, good in Copa del Rey, very good in the Super Copa and bad in La Liga.
(returning to England) I can’t see myself replacing Sir Alex. We’ll finish our careers at the same time. Him at 90 years old and me at 70 years old. I don’t know but it would be my next step.
Its easy for the players to play versus big rivals. One of the things we’ve lacked this season is the appetite, the will, that we should defeat the teams we are expected to defeat.
(on Cristiano) None of the players I’ve coached in my career will feel upset if I say yes, he’s the best player I’ve ever coached. He’s on another level, from another planet.
(do you still enjoy your job?) Yes I still enjoy my work as before. Want to work till 70, and if I’m giving it 20 years of my life, it means I enjoy it.
(on Van Persie) Van Persie is a great player. It does not surprise me what he does. Now he feels like in his natural atmosphere. He feels like fish in the water and he is a player to be respected as he can make a difference.
Next it was Michael Essien’s turn to answer questions from the media.
I think it was a great game tomorrow. Would expect fantastic public support. I am looking forward to tomorrow and to support the team.
We are not afraid. Its another game, one more great game. We are excited and eager to play tomorrow.
(on facing Manchester United) I have played against them a few times. But it is different in the Champions League. I am ready.
They have great players and many attackers with a lot of experience, depends on us how we can defend.
(Will you play tomorrow?) Ask my daddy! (laughter in the press room)
Everyone has been great with me. I am happy to be here and “daddy” has given me this opportunity and I want to thank him. I’ve enjoyed every moment with Real Madrid.
Last year with Chelsea was difficult. These five months have excellent, everything has been excellent.
(On Mourinho unhappy) Daddy is smiling, always content, always happy, always working hard for the team Daddy always conveys his message to us, never seen him sad.
Evra is a good player. One of the best left backs at the moment and gives his 100% for the team.
(Japanese journalist on Kagawa) I don’t know Kagawa well. If Manchester United have spent all that money on him, he must be good.
(on Cristiano) Cristiano is anxious. He wants to start the game and has a lot of emotions to face his former team for the first time.