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Monday 18 December 2017

Mourinho says Real will not freeze in Moscow

MINUS 10 on the pitch, plus 10 in the league -- Jose Mourinho would have settled for that in December, when after another Barcelona beating he had been left looking uncharacteristically vulnerable.

Ahead of tonight's first leg last-16 Champions League encounter with CSKA Moscow, the man who made his Champions League debut 10 years ago this week has everything and everyone right back where he wants them once again.

In Spain, Barcelona are trailing in the distance and their manager, Pep Guardiola, is unsure of his future.

Sledgehammer-subtle smoke signals to the Premier League have helped cast Mourinho's shadow over the hot seats at Manchester City and Chelsea. And in Madrid, directors and players are lining up to say they hope he stays.

After the weekend victory over Racing Santander, Mourinho was asked how he felt about his name being sung in three stadiums over the same weekend, with supporters in the San Siro, Stamford Bridge and the Bernabeu all ringing out the same chorus.

"I have a lot of feelings for those two clubs (Internazionale and Chelsea), but in the past. It was a good past and it is good that people remember but they have to support the people who are there now," he said.

Mourinho struck the right tone when questioned about tonight's sub-zero game, too. He said: "We have to be stronger than the conditions. A synthetic surface is not the same as a natural surface and -15C is not the same as 10C.

"We have not been able to adapt to the conditions in such a short time but our mentality is strong. We have to get the win or even a draw, even a scoreless draw, because what counts is not the result but going through over the two legs."

Real have left injured midfielders Lassana Diarra and Angel Di Maria in Spain, but will otherwise be at full strength.

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