While José Mourinho is prepared to bide his time before assessing the round of 16 tie against PFC CSKA Moskva, Leonid Slutski is looking forward to two "exciting and prestigious matches" with Real Madrid CF.
Mourinho's team became only the fifth side to win all six games in a UEFA Champions League group stage as they finished ten points clear in Group D, yet the Madrid coach thinks that will count for little in the last-16 tie. "[CSKA] are a team we will have to respect when the time comes to play them, but there are more than two months to go until the tie," said Mourinho, whose charges will contest the first leg in Russia on 21 February before the 14 March return encounter.
Emilio Butragueño, Madrid's former striker and now a club director, is also anticipating a tough tie, adding: "In the last few years CSKA have always been at the highest level in Europe, so we'll have to be very careful. Russian teams play good football and they always have quality players up front; [CSKA] won't be any different.
"If we reach our usual level we can be very confident, but anything can happen in football.
One small detail, or one bad evening and you can be out. We need to be alert, pay attention and hope our players are inspired."
CSKA's Slutski, meanwhile, is eager to renew acquaintances with the Madrid coach, having crossed paths during the 2-0 aggregate defeat at the hands of Mourinho's FC Internazionale Milano in the 2009/10 quarter-finals. "We are facing a a top club and I am looking forward to another meeting with José Mourinho," said the 40-year-old, whose side triumphed against Sevilla FC at this stage of the 2009/10 competition. "Once again, we are drawn against a Spanish club in the UEFA Champions League round of 16."
The Russian coach also stated his delight at being paired with one of the world's top teams and avoiding the holders. "While it is absolutely impossible to play Barcelona,
I believe we can match Madrid. We are in for exciting and prestigious matches, both for the club and the players. We don't play one of the best teams in the world every day."
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.