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Mourinho demands Madrid respect APOEL

Ivan Jovanović says Wednesday's game at Real Madrid CF marks a "zenith" for APOEL FC, but José Mourinho is hardly rolling out the welcome mat as he urges his side to keep up their form.

José Mourinho gets involved during Madrid's training session on Tuesday
José Mourinho gets involved during Madrid's training session on Tuesday ©AFP/Getty Images

Real Madrid CF could be forgiven for taking their foot off the gas as they look to preserve a 3-0 first-leg lead at home to APOEL FC on Wednesday. José Mourinho, though, insists his tight-knit group will keep their eye on the ball against the Cypriot side, whose coach Ivan Jovanović is hoping to give the "kings of Europe" something to remember them by.

Real Madrid
Coach José Mourinho

We got a very good result [in Cyprus] but we must respect APOEL. We are going to play against a strong team. My players are alright, they're not tired and are full of confidence. We have a great record in the UEFA Champions League, with only one loss in two very good years. We want to continue that way.

The most important thing is to be in the semi-finals though I want my team to win and play well. Since the start of the season we have been getting victories with different players in every match. It proves the strength of this group; the group is united and we are going to win or lose together until the end.

I am worried about all the injured players as I like having problems in selecting my players. [Ángel] Di María has been training OK but it is not the same as playing. He is an important player and we've missed him. In my opinion our performance in the Liga have been out of this world – no other team in Europe's big leagues have a six-point advantage over their nearest rivals.

Weekend result
Saturday: CA Osasuna 1-5 Real Madrid (Nino 48; Benzema 7, Ronaldo 37 70, Higuaín 40 77)
Casillas; Arbeloa, Albiol, Ramos, Marcelo; Alonso, Granero, Benzema (Varane 84), Özil (Di María 82), Ronaldo; Higuaín (Coentrão 79).

• Madrid, shorn of the suspended Pepe, brought up a century of Liga goals this campaign in their 30th top-flight match. They ended each of the last two seasons with 102, beating UD Almería 8-1 on the final day in 2010/11.

Team news
Sami Khedira (virus), Lassana Diarra (hamstring) and Ricardo Carvalho (thigh) are on the sidelines. Álvaro Arbeloa has been left out, but Di María (thigh) and José Callejón (ankle) are available although lacking match fitness.

Coach Ivan Jovanović
Real Madrid will reach semi-finals, but we're going to try and go out on a high. We can improve [on the first leg], especially when we have possession and try and create more chances. I'm not afraid and any result is possible. We never play with fear. We respect Madrid, their stadium and what they mean for the world of football, but we are not afraid. Anything is possible.

After the [quarter-final] draw I thought it would be better if were facing another team because then we would at least have a chance. Now I think it was a blessing. We're going to play the best team in the world. They have a very good coach, the best player and a historic stadium. We expect 3,000 or 4,000 supporters from Nicosia in the stands: they can enjoy the match but the team must be focused, especially against Madrid.

We have enjoyed some memorable experiences over the past two years against great teams. We have improved markedly in that time and earned our place among Europe's best eight teams. We have played good teams, better teams, and now we are up against the kings of football. This is APOEL's zenith.

Weekend result
Saturday: AC Omonia 1-2 APOEL (Christofi 55; Sousa 45, Manduca 90+4)
Chiotis; Kaká, Morais, Solomou, Alexandrou; Pinto, Sousa, Marcinho (Adorno 74), Manduca, Charalambides (Solari 74); Aílton (Satsias 90+1).

• With William Boaventura and Paulo Jorge suspended, APOEL made a winning start to the end-of-season play-offs in a game held behind closed doors. The result allowed them to leapfrog their opponents into second place.

Team news
Gustavo Manduca is available after serving a one-game ban in the first leg, but APOEL will be without Marcelo Oliveira (knee) and Ivan Tričkovski (broken hand). Savvas Poursaitides and Panos Constantinou are expected to shake off knocks while Aílton faces a late fitness test after a virus.

Match fact
Madrid have won 26 out of 27 ties after winning the away first leg in UEFA competition, including all three where the away first leg finished 3-0 in their favour. The sole exception came against Odense BK in the 1994/95 UEFA Cup third round when a 3-2 away success preceded a 2-0 home reverse.