A year ago Mourinho stated his team was "young, which has its advantages, but when they suffer emotional frailty we have to suffer with them." Expectations are high. 90 minutes in the Bernabeu is a long time, said club legend Juanito. Madrid's own history of Remontadas (spectacular turn-arounds) is well known.
For all that, Mourinho seemed to be walking a tight-rope between trying to inspire his team and relieve pressure at the same time. "Should we fail to advance, the fault will be mine. If we advance, the team will have the credit."
It is a 90 minute match and we are losing 1-4. We have 90 minutes to play and in football it is possible. The way we played in Dortmund was too poor for us to think that we could play a similar match and have a chance to turn things around...You have to play with mental aggressiveness, not physical, and desire.
[Last week] the team that deserved to win won and the team that deserved to lose lost.
He conceded, openly, that it was "difficult to use mathematics to justify" the expectation of winning. Nevertheless, he also referenced Juanito.
Of some interest to journalists was the comment,supposedly made to Dortmund's manager Klopp, that he would be off to Chelsea. Klopp has since denied this to the German press. Mourinho was contemptuous: "It's a shame that people read the newspaper and then don't read Klopp's denial."
Talk of his future made him testy. There are also two ways to read his comment about where to assign blame and there's little sense he feels any result will reflect on his career - wherever the blame is laid.
I think that at all clubs, almost all, success belongs to everyone and failure to the coach...with some exceptions where they recognise the coach's role in good or bad things...There are great coaches who have not won the Champions League and I have already won two. I will fight to win the third.
Mourinho, judging from the footage, smiled rather more often in this press conference than he has lately. Make of that what you will!
Alongside him was Sergio Ramos - as always, optimistic. He did speak at greater length, but his comments can best be summed up by one of his statements: "We're looking forward to it, and we're confident we can turn it around."
He added -
We feel the excitement that this competition has for Real Madrid...We have to show this from the first minute. If we do not go through, then we at least have to leave the pitch with our heads held high and not feeling like we did the other day. We have to play at our best. You do not win with your history. We have to believe in ourselves and show it.