Jose Mourinho says he would relish the prospect of two all-English Champions League quarterfinals, ahead of the draw for the competition at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, on Friday.
There are a quartet of English teams in the hat for the last eight – the first such situation since 2009 – with the Fab Four of Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham all qualifying.
The other clubs to have booked their spots are European giants Juventus and Barcelona, and surprise packages Porto and Ajax – the latter of whom dethroned Real Madrid last week.
Mourinho, who won the competition with Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010, says he’d like to see an all-English affair for two of the quarterfinal ties.
“I’d like English teams to play against each other. Without any kind of preference,” said the former Man Utd boss on his RT show, ‘On the Touchline with Jose Mourinho’.
“I would do two matches with English teams, which would mean two in the semi-finals.
“If the draw gives something like Manchester City against Manchester United, or Tottenham against Liverpool, for example, it would be fantastic matches.”
Elsewhere, he said a meeting between the unfancied pair of Porto and Ajax would be a welcome story for the clubs and their respective countries as one of them would at least be guaranteed a semi-final spot.
“My second choice would be what I think would be fantastic extra motivation, something thy would deserve, I’d do Ajax against Porto,” he said.
“Because that would mean one of them reaches the semi-final, and I think they are doing so, so well in the competition, it would be amazing for one of them and their countries.”
But Mourinho admitted that the prospect of a Barcelona versus Juventus quarterfinal tie – and a mouthwatering match-up of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – would deprive the competition of what would be a special semi-final or final later down the line.
“I wouldn’t like Juventus against Barcelona, it would be something really special in a possible final or semi-final.
“Two great teams, who haven’t been successful in the Champions League in the last few years.
“I wouldn’t waste it on a quarterfinal,” he added.
When asked to pick his outright winner, Mourinho said: “I always say, when you get to the quarterfinal, everyone has the feeling, ‘I have 12.5 percent chance of winning.’
“Every team will have their preferences, the teams they wouldn’t like to play, but it’s a very positive feeling for everyone who is there.”
WHEN AND WHERE IS THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTERFINAL DRAW?
The draw takes place at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, at 11:00 GMT on Friday, March 15.
The draw is open, meaning each of the eight teams can be drawn against any other team.
The teams are:
Manchester United (ENG)
Manchester City (ENG)
Tottenham Hotspur (ENG)