José Mourinho says that every point counts in a Champions League group in which he has not ruled out Manchester City progressing to the next round, insisting that even his Real Madrid team and Borussia Dortmund are "under pressure" and "at risk" of being knocked out, despite having six and seven points respectively while City sit bottom of the group with a solitary point.
The Spanish and German champions face each other at the Santiago Bernabéu on Tuesday night and even if Roberto Mancini is right when he says that his City side need a miracle to go through, first place provides an incentive, making for a clearer path to the final at Wembley. Madrid lost 2-1 in Germany in the first leg, leaving them trailing the Germans by a point. Mourinho, though, appeared to suggest that a draw would not be a particularly damaging result.
"We and Borussia are in a little better position than others but why not Ajax and Man City to win more points in the second phase of the group and make our life more difficult?" Mourinho said.
"It's a tough group. Every point you get is good but every point you lose is bad. Every team is in risk. It's a very enjoyable group because it's very difficult and every team is under pressure because every defeat makes life difficult. We believe we can do good playing at home and I hope that tomorrow we can end up with more than six points."
Madrid will be without the injured Sami Khedira, forcing Mourinho into a change in the middle of midfield. In a short and occasionally prickly press conference marked by recent debates surrounding the role of the Real Madrid academy system and the coach's reluctance to use players from the youth team, he would not be drawn on whether he planned to use Luka Modric or Michael Essien in the German's place.
He did, though, reveal that Madrid would be without Karim Benzema. Asked about the French striker, Mourinho replied sharply: "He's out, he's out. I don't know [how long for] but he's out."
When asked about Khedira's potential replacement, he replied: "Karim's out and [Raphaël] Varane will play," prompting a brief exchange which left Mourinho giggling. "Yes, but what about the midfield?" "Karim's out." "OK, so let's talk about Karim then. What's wrong with him?" "A muscular problem in his groin."
There are still more than three thousand tickets available for the match. "I don't think I'm responsible for the economic crisis in Spain or Germany," Mourinho said.