Mourinho: "Benzema and Higuain aren't going to be together"

Real Madrid faces Barcelona at the Camp Nou (Sunday, 7:50 pm CET), for the match corresponding to the seventh match day of the Spanish League. The team has had five consecutive victories and Mourinho spoke about the match after the last training session before it: "For me it's a match more fitted to the evolution we hope for and which we hope to make constant. I'm not talking about results, but about organization, discipline, tactics, ambition, commitment, team play, good personalities... That is my concern. We're at the beginning and the concern is getting to the level we got to last season. We all knew it was difficult to maintain it for so many consecutive months. We have lost that level and we want to get it back bit by bit, which is what we are doing. This match is important in this regard and if we can come out with the conviction with which we have made this evolution constant, well that's even better".

Mourinho at the press conference before Barcelona match
Jose Mourinho

The Real Madrid coach spoke about those who will be dropped from Barcelona's defence: "At Barcelona we have played without Pepe and the world hasn't come to an end. Last season, during Barcelona's La Liga match, Pique was well and stayed on the bench. I can't be in the head of other coaches. Normally, I will only find out about our opponent's line up one hour beforehand and I have to give my team's before. I can't decide upon my team on the basis of the other one as I don't know who is going to play. We have our idea and our team ready to play. In matches like this one, as I metaphorically say, they are matches which bring the world to a standstill, where everybody plays. In the case of Puyol, I am happy that it's not as serious as it seemed. In the case of Pique, if there is doubt it's very minimal, so if he's not fully recovered, he will be on the final leg of his recovery".

When asked about Real Madrid's starting eleven at the Camp Nou, Mourinho was clear: "Benzema and Higuain are not going to be together. After having played so many times against Barcelona recently, I think it will be difficult for you to know the make-up of the team. I won't tell you who is going to play. I decided to go with Marcelo in the match against Ajax and I think it was a good decision because it meant a very good match. But each match is different and you will soon see who is going to play".

The Whites will travel on the same day as the match to Barcelona, a decision which Mourinho explained in the press room of Real Madrid Football City: "For recent matches we've been there for, we've travelled on the same day as the match. The team, as well as myself, like it that way. We have enough time despite the fact that the match is earlier this time. We get there, we rest a bit and in the evening we're ready to play. They are matches which are easy to be psychologically prepared for. No great pep talk is needed. In matches like this I would say it's enough to get there for the match, both teams being very prepared, and I think that the referees must be very motivated for a match like this one. The world comes to a standstill with this great match. The two teams and the referee are responsible for giving the world what it wants to see".

Regarding how these kinds of matches go and the team play, the Real Madrid coach assured: "There is no standard pattern. You never know what is going to happen. The teams are strong. Both want to win and they are normally well balanced matches, but on occasions they have been unbalanced. Our concern is playing well. We are making significant improvements. If we compare how we played during the first matches and how we have played the most recent La Liga matches, we can see that we have made improvements. This is our concern. To continue improving until we get to the level which made us champions last season and to stay there for as long as possible, playing at this top level".

Regarding whether a draw would be a good result for Madrid, Mourinho said: "It depends on the match. If you reach a high level and play very well, if you have lots of opportunities to score and you deserve to win, but you draw, then it's very bad. If you don't play well, you don't reach a high level and draw with amazing luck, it's a fantastic outcome. It depends on how the match pans out".

"Let us play the match first. Don't be so pessimistic or so optimistic. Let us play the match first", said the Portuguese coach in response to a question on what position the team would be in if they lose in Barcelona. In terms of the referees' role up until know in the league, he said: "Things have happened since the beginning of the season, but nobody at Real Madrid has said anything or made any comment on this, and it's not going to be me who does it".

He also pointed out that we has complete confidence in his squad: "I always place complete confidence in my players and I have just as much confidence in them when things are going well for us and also when I don't have such a good feeling. When we are working well and the feeling is positive, obviously there is more confidence. However, I have been in football for many years to know that each match has its own story and there are details which mark profound differences, but there is always complete confidence. The improvements are thanks to the players, who have realised that it was necessary to change, to be more motivated, more concentrated and more involved. It has been commendable to realise that the end of the season, in the dynamics that they were in, could only be negative. They have changed their mind-set and by changing it, it is easier for things to go our way".

Finally, when asked about Özil's substitution, Mourinho said: "I don't think it is time to create a drama when a player is on the bench. There are 13 players who don't play and every time somebody doesn't play, there is something made of it. I am paid to form the line up, I try to do it as well as possible and there are players who are left out, full stop. In Amsterdam I was also asked about Özil and it was the journalist himself who answered his own question".

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