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Fri Apr 18 05:02:49 SAST 2014

Real were Europe’s number one team last season, says Mourinho

Reuters | 19 August, 2012 11:380 Comments
Real Madrid Training Session
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho looks on during a training session ahead of their opening La Liga match against Valencia at the Valdebebas training ground on August 16, 2012 in Madrid, Spain
Image by: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno / Getty Images

Real Madrid were the best team in Europe last season and it is going to be tough to match their record-breaking achievements this time round, coach Jose Mourinho said on Saturday.

The club accumulated an unprecedented 100 points, scoring 121 goals, to win La Liga for the first time in four years in May and they begin the defence of their title at home to Valencia on Sunday.

“We aren’t looking to beat records, only to be champions,” Mourinho told a news conference. “Every season is different and the important thing is always to be ambitious.

“The team has reached a good level and it was the best team in Europe last season.”

Real ended Barcelona’s three-year reign as champions to secure their 32nd league title but the trophy they really crave is the Champions League, won by Mourinho’s old club Chelsea in May.

Last season, for the second year in a row, Real made it to the semi-finals where they suffered an agonising penalty shootout defeat at the Bernabeu to Bayern Munich.

“We won the most difficult La Liga with unparalleled figures and a fantastic standard of play,” Portuguese Mourinho added.

“We know what we can do and we are going to try and maintain the levels of play, the team spirit and the levels of ambition. If we do this we will be candidates to win all the competitions.”

Turkey playmaker Nuri Sahin, who rarely featured in an injury-blighted season after joining from Borussia Dortmund a year ago, is set to leave Real on loan.

“The most important thing is that he is happy,” Mourinho said. “The best for him and for Madrid is that he goes out on loan.

“Madrid don’t want to sell him. He needs to play and to prove himself.”

Visiting Valencia are a changed side under new coach Mauricio Pellegrino. They finished third last season, 39 points adrift of Real.

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