Mourinho keen to end Tottenham fairytale
© AFP

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho believes his team has the edge on Tottenham and is confident he can end the London club's UEFA Champions League odyssey in the quarter-finals.

Spurs' debut campaign has already delivered famous wins against Inter Milan and AC Milan, and the reward for Harry Redknapp's side is a glamorous last-eight encounter against the Spanish giants.

Mourinho, who won the competition as coach of Inter last season, concedes he has some misgivings about coming up against the tournament dark horses, but admits he is at least approaching the tie with more relish than he did last year's last-16 encounter with former club Chelsea.

Tottenham are a good team: they beat Inter, they beat Milan, they have ambitions, they have a very good team and a good manager.
Jose Mourinho on Tottenham

"I didn't want Chelsea-Inter, because last season it was difficult to play against Chelsea," said Mourinho, who left Chelsea four years ago. "I did it, and I did everything I could to help my team, but I was not comfortable. I don't like to play against my friends.

"Any team is difficult and any team is a motivation for us," he went on. "Tottenham are a good team: they beat Inter, they beat Milan, they have ambitions, they have a very good team and a good manager. You can feel that it is a happy team, and happy teams are dangerous teams."

Asked whether Spurs could produce an upset and go all the way, Mourinho added to BBC Radio 5 Five: "It's possible. They have a not very easy draw, but they have not had an easy draw from the beginning," he said. "But I want to believe, with all respect of course, that their campaign in the Champions League will finish in the second leg at White Hart Lane.

"They have reason to be proud already, and I think they have a reason to fight us and to try to reach the semis, but I believe that we are a better team."

Changing face of the EPL
Spurs have failed to mount a title challenge in the English Premier League this season despite the fact that the traditional big guns have dropped points with greater regularity than normal, and Mourinho believes this perhaps indicates a drop-off in standards.

"(In my first season at Chelsea) you had to win and win and win and win, and every point you lost you are in a difficult situation, because the top teams were winning a lot. In the same way that we are doing now in Spain," he said. "At this moment in the Premier League they are losing a lot of points. Every team had difficult moments, so for me it looks like the top teams have lost a little bit."

Mourinho's former captain at Chelsea, John Terry, hit the headlines this week after being restored as England skipper a year after losing the armband following revelations about his private life. The Portuguese refused to comment on the rights and wrongs of the matter, but admitted that England remain in good hands no matter which player dons the armband.

"I don't want to go in that direction, I don't know completely the process. I just think, because I know him, he's a great captain," he said. "I have never worked with Rio Ferdinand before, but I have no doubts that Rio is also a great captain.

"For some national teams it is difficult to choose (a captain), in England they have so many people with the character to be captains - Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard. The English national team is full of big personalities and big players."

England return
Jose Mourinho has also re-iterated his desire to return to the Premier League to tackle "unfinished business". The Portuguese coach having left Chelsea in 2007 after a hugely successful spell at Stamford Bridge before winning the Serie A title and Champions League with Inter Milan last season.

His current contract at Real Madrid has another three years to run but he maintains he is planning to return to England sooner rather than later.

"I miss England and my next job will be in England," he told The Sun. "There is unfinished business. And I think England wants me back, no? It was the most enjoyable time of my career."