Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho believes his side can overcome a three-goal deficit to book their place in the UEFA Champions League final after they were beaten 4-1 by Borussia Dortmund tonight. Robert Lewandowski fired four goals as Dortmund emulated fellow Germans Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final domination of Spanish opposition.
The Poland striker gave Jurgen Klopp's men an early lead and, after Cristiano Ronaldo equalised late in the first half for Real Madrid, Lewandowski struck three times more in the second half. However, Mourinho, who is now facing the task of re-motivating his team for the semi-final return leg at the Bernabeu in six days' time, thinks it is possible if the entire side raise their game.
"I think they were the best team by far and won every individual battle on the pitch and were stronger than us, more aggressive physically and tougher mentally so they deserved it," Mourinho told Sky Sports. "How it went from 1-1 to 4-1, I really don't know because everything happened in a very short space of time in the far goal from the position where I was.
"But we lost easy possession and we couldn't cope with their counter-attacking and their transition. We prepared for the game so well, in every detail, as we always do, especially in a semi-final. We prepared for everything, we were ready for everything.
"We are very confident about the work we did. I think many of the boys didn't perform and many of the boys didn't have a good night and this is exactly when you cannot make mistakes because at club level this is the second most important match in the world of football. The first one is the Champions league final, the second one is the Champions League semi-final so when you don't perform on a very special day it is very disappointing."
Asked if a place in the final was still a realistic possibility, Mourinho said: "It is of course very difficult but in football it can happen. Of course we can, on a crazy night, where everyone performs at a high level and every chance you have and every goal you score is with a high level of efficiency. Of course you can."
Mourinho also praised Dortmund striker Lewandowski, but felt Madrid did themselves no favours when it came to dealing with the Poland international.
"When we know everything, absolutely everything about Lewandowski - we studied every detail possible and we lose him in three balls - and we know exactly what he does, and it is of course very disappointing," Mourinho said. "When I lose and I don't deserve to lose, for me it is a problem. When I lose and I deserve to lose it's a situation that I accept.
"The first goal we lost the ball in easy possession and after that we lost the player. His movement in the box, we know everything about him, so of course he deserves credit for what he did but we gave him a big support for him to be the man of the match."
Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp hailed his side's performance against the visiting Spanish giants.
He said: "It was an unbelievable, great game of my team. It was so difficult today because they are so strong and fast and they are so brilliant on the counter-attack."
Klopp was pleased with how his side responded to Cristiano Ronaldo's equalising goal.
"The first 25 minutes were great and then we lost a bit of our game. Not so much but enough to let them come up," Klopp said. "They got (level) and at the break we told the players: 'Maybe you think there was a wrong decision by the referee but in the last game we had a wrong decision from the referee and we had the winner. Go back to the strong first 25 minutes'."
Real will now play Dortmund at the Bernabeu on Tuesday 30 April in the semi-final second leg to decide who will play in next month's Wembley final.