Real Madrid: Why Jose Mourinho Will Win the UEFA Champions League This Year
Real Madrid made it through to the last eight of the UEFA Champions League after they knocked out Manchester United 3-2 on aggregate on Tuesday night, leaving fans wondering if they were really capable of winning the tournament.
While Madrid's performance on the night didn't scream of invincibility—certainly boss Jose Mourinho didn't think so—they did, nonetheless, make the most of the opportunities presented to them and go on to win the game.
Knock-out football always hides its surprises, and one of those might be Real Madrid finally ending up with their 10th European Cup success.
The one overriding reason that the Spanish team could achieve it, in this season of relative underachievement so far, is their manager, Mourinho.
Here's why he could do it against all odds this season.
Talented Players at His Disposal with Something to Prove
Tactically he can be impressive, but Jose Mourinho's real forte has always been in his man management.
At Real Madrid Mou has not only a squad of egos, high earners and historically successful players but also a group of immensely talented footballers at his disposal.
They may have been suffering with their form this season, but don't forget this is a squad which won La Liga title last season ahead of Barcelona.
Real have real winners, real quality, and Mourinho is still more than capable of eking that out of his charges.
Possibility of Big Rivals Dropping out
Manchester United are gone, and so are Shakhtar Donetsk.
The Ukrainian side's inability to be a major force away from home might have meant that they were not likely to seriously challenge for the Champions League, but United certainly could have.
So fell one rival for the cup.
Barcelona are on the verge of an exit against AC Milan, themselves perceived as a relatively weak option to land the trophy, while fellow Spanish sides Malaga and Valencia could exit at the last 16 stage too.
Bayern Munich and Juventus likely remain the big obstacles on the road to success, but they could easily be paired together or come up against another outsider such as Paris St. Germain.
Real Madrid Capable of Winning Ties over Two Legs
Real Madrid's form and consistency this season has been an issue for them in their domestic league, but their quality in the playing staff means they are still capable of beating anybody on their day.
Therein lies their advantage over a two-legged tie; if they fail to perform first time around, they still have another match in which to display their superiority and progress.
Mourinho is experienced enough and tactically aware enough to negotiate Real Madrid's passage through the knock-out stages and lead his team to the final.
Nobody Expects Him to
As much as it is worth noting that certain players in his squad have a big ego, it cannot be ignored that the manager himself also possesses one.
And with reason; he's already won the Champions League with Porto and with Inter Milan—now he wants a third with Real Madrid.
With his side not running away with the domestic league, few are expecting them to go the distance in Europe either, and Mourinho more than anybody will want to prove people wrong.
Real's double victory over Barcelona recently, allied to their win over Manchester United in the Champions League, could see them hit form at just the right time to make a huge impact in this competition.
Mourinho himself will believe he is capable of winning it for a third time, and will want everyone else to see how good he is by springing the ultimate surprise.