Dortmund defeat leaves Mourinho needing the love
Jose Mourinho, the self-appointed "Special One", was the man charged with winning the European Champions League and finally recognizing the dream of "La Decima."
Instead, should he leave this summer, his epitaph will read "decimated".
Just minutes after watching his Real Madrid blow its chance of an unprecedented tenth triumph in Europe's elite competition Tuesday, Mourinho was already busy plotting his escape route from the Spanish capital following his fifth semifinal defeat in seven attempts.
"I want to be where people love me to be," he told ITV immediately after the game.
Just quite how much love there is in Madrid for Mourinho is open for debate, but his side's 2-0 victory was not enough to earn him the opportunity to become the first man to win the competition with three different clubs.
Last week's humiliating 4-1 defeat in Dortmund left Real with an uphill struggle and despite late goals from Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos, it failed to take advantage of the number of glorious chances which came its way.
Now, all eyes are on Mourinho, with former employers Chelsea just one of several high profile clubs likely to be interested in employing the Portuguese coach.
But the 50-year-old, who left Stamford Bridge in September 2007 in acrimonious circumstances, insists he will wait until the end of the season before making a decision.
Real sits 11 points behind league leader and arch rival Barcelona in the title race, while it faces city neighbor Atletico Madrid in the final of the Copa del Rey, the country's top domestic cup competition.
"I didn't make a decision because I have a contract and more than that, because in football people break contracts when they want to, is the respect I have for the club and the president," he told a press conference.
"It's why I want to play the [Copa del Rey] final and win the cup and finish second in the league. I want to sit with my president, my friend, and decide the best for me."
Last year's league title win seems a long time ago now.
Mourinho's reign has been tempestuous from the very moment he arrived in May 2010. Style of play which has frustrated supporters, a falling out club captain Iker Casillas and a constant war of words with the Spanish media has not helped his case.
"I know in England I am loved by the fans, the media they treat me in a fair way," he explained to reporters.
"I know I am loved by some clubs, especially one. In Spain the situation is a bit different because some people hate me.
"Many of you are in this room. It's difficult to make a decision because I like the club and we made a fantastic team that is ready to do big things.
"I need to be honest and fair. At the end of the season I will speak."
Mourinho's mood may have been different had Real profited from the number of opportunities gifted to it by a youthful and inexperienced Dortmund side.
Robert Lewandowski's four-goal salvo in Germany last week had given the visiting side a cushion of comfort heading into the encounter.
But manager Jurgen Klopp was left sweating on the touchlines as his players held on to amidst a barrage of pressure from the home side.
"It isn't too hard to reveal what I thought during those last 10 minutes: if God wished it then we would qualify for the final," he told a press conference.
"But it has to be said that it was a crazy match, from start to finish."
Trailing 4-1 from the first leg, Real needed a fast start and it almost got one when Gonzalo Higuain ran through on goal only to shoot straight at Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller.
Dortmund, which was forced into an early change following an injury to influential playmaker Mario Goetze, appeared nervous as Real continued to pile on the pressure.
Those nerves should have been increased when Mesut Ozil escaped the Dortmund defense, but fired his effort wide of the post with just the goalkeeper to beat.
Ronaldo was next to go close, this time sending a close range volley straight against Weidenfeller when he looked certain to score.
With the home side consistently failing to take its chances, Dortmund began to grown in stature and Jakub Blaszczykowski should have done better after meeting Lukasz Piszczek's cutback.
Dortmund, which drew 2-2 in Madrid during the group stage of the competition, continued to create opportunities after the break and Lewandowski fired over when well placed.
The Polish striker should have given his side the lead on the night just minutes later when he burst clear of the Real defense, but his thunderous effort cannoned against the crossbar and bounced down to safety.
The German side then went close again when Ilkay Gundogan's close-range effort forced Diego Lopez into a stunning save to keep the scores level.
Mourinho threw on Kaka and Benzema to try and inspire Real and the pair gave the home side a fresh impetus going forward.
Twice Angel Di Maria went close before Real finally made the breakthrough with eight minutes remaining.
After watching Lewandowski go close at the other end, the home side broke at pace and Benzema swept the ball past Weidenfeller after connecting with Ozil's pass.
Benzema then set up Ramos six minutes later to leave Real within touching distance, but that elusive goal just wouldn't come.
"It's a shame," Ramos told reporters. "Sometimes you lose, that is football.
"In Dortmund we should have played the way we did tonight. We feel for the fans. It's a shame to have been so close but the missed chances in the first half were costly."
For Mourinho, the tie was lost on German soil a week ago, a result which condemned Real to becoming the first team to suffer three consecutive semifinal defeats.
He told ITV: "In football you win or you lose. I think we could have won. They had a couple of big chances but that was a consequence of the way we were playing late on where we risked everything.
"Today we were a team with character and desire and we could have done it.
"I don't forget the first match, we were very bad and we were punished because of the result of the first leg."
The prospect of an all-German final now looms large with Bayern Munich taking a 4-0 lead to the Camp Nou to face Barcelona Wednesday.
But while Bayern still has work to do, Dortmund can now relax in the knowledge they have booked a dream date with destiny, despite suffering a first defeat of the competition.
"We knew if they scored a goal in the first half, the crowd would get euphoric and loud," Mats Hummels told ITV.
"We had the game under control but with the goal the whole game changed - like the game against Malaga.
"It's unbelievable; something everyone in the team dreamed of since being an child. Some of us are still children. We are looking forward to Wembley."
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