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Tie evenly balanced in Mourinho´s eyes

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho does not believe Manchester United hold an advantage in the sides’ last-16 Champions League tie.

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho does not believe Manchester United hold an advantage in the sides’ last-16 Champions League tie.

The Red Devils grabbed a crucial away goal in a 1-1 first-leg draw at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

A Danny Welbeck header from a corner was cancelled out by an impressive headed finish from Cristiano Ronaldo in the first half, but neither side could find a further breakthrough in a match full of attacking action.

Despite United effectively holding a one-goal lead courtesy of the away goals rule, Mourinho confidently predicted his side can cancel that out at Old Trafford.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Mourinho said: “I think they gave everything, but again it was difficult because we started off well.

“Fabio (Coentrao) had a really good chance when he hit the post, then the first time they go in our half they score a goal out of nothing.

“To be losing 1-0 is not a good situation. After half-time they tried but Man U played for the result.

“Their defence was deep but now it is our time to go to Old Trafford and I think 1-1 is not a bad result because everything is open and we can score more than one goal there.”

The Portuguese insisted he expected an open game at the Santiago Bernabeu, but expressed surprise at the deep position taken up by United’s defence.

He continued: “It was nothing new. It was not a surprise. It was basically what I was waiting for, which is everything open for the second leg and I was thinking this will go to the last minute.

“They changed the way they play. They played very deep in the second half. I don’t think Rio (Ferdinand) or (Jonny) Evans put a foot in our half. I think they were waiting our set pieces so they could counterattack for the second goal, but we kept them out.

“Normally that would change the game, but they did well. The result is open; if you ask me a percentage, I wouldn’t change my thoughts. It is still 50/50.”

Wed 13 February, 2013
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