sport

Mourinho relishing big matches

Jose Mourinho is looking forward to what could be the make-or-break week in Real Madrid's season.

With their Primera Division title all but lost, Madrid must focus on the Copa del Rey and Champions League to try to bring silverware to the Bernabeu this season, but face tough tasks to progress in both competitions in the next eight days.

Tomorrow night, they travel to arch rivals Barcelona for the second leg of their Copa semi-final, while next Tuesday they will be at Old Trafford for the second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie with Manchester United.

Both ties are delicately poised at 1-1 after first legs in Madrid.

If that was not enough to get the juices flowing in the Madrid squad, there is the small matter of another Clasico in the league when Barca come in the opposite direction on Saturday evening.

"These are the sort of matches that we like to play, that everyone wants to play," Mourinho said.

"I prefer matches that are this difficult. We are ready and we are all looking forward to playing these big matches."

Madrid trail Barcelona by 16 points in the table, but there has been little to choose between the two in head-to-head meetings of late.

While the first leg of this tie was a draw, so was their league match in Madrid in October, finishing 2-2, while it took away goals for Mourinho's men to claim the Super Cup when it finished 4-4 over two legs.

However, Mourinho has no interest in what has gone before.

"It is a match that has nothing to do with the others that we've played against them," he said. "Nothing else comes into it, they are a great opponent. We have to try to play our best and get the best result."