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Saturday 19 January 2019

Mourinho: History counts for nothing against Lyon

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho is not impressed by Lyon's unbeaten record against the Spanish club and thinks recent history will count for nothing when the teams meet tonight in the first leg of the Champions League's round of 16.

Mourinho is under pressure to end Madrid's title drought in the competition, but to even reach the quarter-finals he has to first find a way past the team that eliminated the club at the same stage last year.

The nine-times European champions have embarrassingly failed to make the last eight since 2004.

"History doesn't count for anything in this kind of match. Let's leave these statistics behind us," Mourinho said.

"We have analysed the present Lyon team, the way they play now. We're ready to take up the challenge."

No Madrid team has beaten Lyon in six previous meetings, losing all three away matches and drawing every home game.

Having won the treble with Inter Milan last season -- including the Italian club's first Champions League title since 1965 -- beating Lyon would not seem to rank among Mourinho's biggest challenges.

"I had the same thing with Inter. They hadn't won the Champions League for practically 50 years," Mourinho said.

"We've never beaten Lyon and we want to reach the quarter-finals. Those are the two challenges we have to face."

Mourinho is trying to become the first coach to win the Champions League with three different clubs.

Although Lyon eliminated the Spanish club from the last 16 last year, Mourinho insists there are no mental scars. "There has been no psychological work to do," Mourinho said.

The manager rested midfielders Xabi Alonso and Mesut Oezil along with defender Pepe against Levante, and brought on striker Emmanuel Adebayor as a late substitute.

Mourinho must choose between Adebayor or former Lyon forward Karim Benzema as his main striker, with top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo and winger Angel Di Maria on either flank.

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