ZAGREB (Reuters) - Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho’s touchline ban could put “wind in the sails” of Wednesday’s Champions League opponents Dinamo Zagreb, according to the Croatian team’s coach.
“Mourinho’s absence could make a difference because he has a huge influence on the team and takes an active part in the game with his game plan and instructions,” Kruno Jurcic told a news conference on the eve of the Group D tie.
“He is a leader and leaders are hard to replace so his exclusion might put some wind into our sails. This is the kind of game every coach lives for.”
Mourinho is serving a three-match touchline ban for misconduct in the first leg of last season’s semi-final clash with Barcelona who beat Real 3-1 on aggregate before going on to lift the trophy.
Dinamo are back in the competition for the first time since 1999-2000 and Jurcic is confident they can upset the nine-times European champions in front of a passionate home crowd at Maksimir stadium.
”What we have to do is bring Real Madrid down to our level in order to spring a surprise,“ said the coach. ”We can’t throw caution to the wind and beat them at their own game.
”We have plenty of skilful players who can keep possession and if we can frustrate them with our passing we’ve got a good chance with our 40,000 fans behind us.
“It would be against all my coaching principles to think about anything other than victory and my players will be thinking how to outfox Real Madrid rather than what rival to swap jerseys with after the final whistle,” Jurcic added.
Jurcic, who played for Dinamo (then called Croatia Zagreb) when they featured in the group stages in 1999-2000, said Real’s La Liga rivals Getafe showed his team the way to play against Mourinho’s side.
“Getafe lost 4-2 (on Saturday) but they had a real go at Real and had it not been for what I think was a controversial penalty they might have come away with something from the Bernabeu,” he explained.
“I don’t need to motivate my players for a game like this, they can’t wait for the kickoff and all I can tell them is to go out there and enjoy themselves.”
Editing by Tony Jimenez