José Mourinho (photo via Realmadrid.com)
José Mourinho returned to the press room in Valdebebas before facing Real Madrid's next rival, Manuel Pellegrini's Málaga tomorrow. Some of the journalists asked him about APOEL, Xabi Alonso's suspension and Sahin's future with the club. He also talked about Real Madrid's fans at the Santiago Bernabéu.
I prefer our crowd (instead of Athletic Bilbao's) and the passion it shows around the world. The Bernabéu is full in almost every game. My intention isn't criticizing, but my job is also searching for the best working conditions so the players can succeed. Feeling the love of the crowd, feeling that you can afford to have a bad game and the people is still backing you up. We can win two big competitions, one, or none, and I keep asking for a little bit more of love.
We play against the fourth team, they are in the Champions League zone and they have top-quality players and a coach with a lot of experience, so it will be a hard match. Every win gets us closer to our target. But we are only thinking about us. Last year we were thinking about who Barça is playing against and see if they could lose any points, but not anymore.
Mourinho also spoke about Di María's status. The Argentinian player has suffered a lot of injuries this season, and the coach is expecting him to return soon enough.
He will start working with the squad within a week, but we are not going to take any risks with him. We are afraid of losing him but we are going to get him ready so can be able to help us through April.
Xabi Alonso will miss the first game in Cyprus against APOEL Nicosia. Mourinho believes any midfielder can take Alonso's place for this game.
APOEL is in the Quarterfinals because they deserve it. They are doing a great Champions League. We need to respect them. Sahin, Lass, Granero... any midfielder can take on Alonso's spot. They all are Xabi Alonso's natural replacement.
We support him. The players will do something to show their support tomorrow. There are no colors in these kind of situations. If he is able to play again, we will applaud him. But if the issue is that bad, we wish him a fantastic life from now on.