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Portuguese maestro plays down talk of semi-final with Barcelona

Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has praised Tottenham’s Harry Redknapp ahead of their quarter-final show down in the Champions League, congratulating him on his success at Spurs.

The two clubs were paired together in Friday’s competition draw and Mourinho is eager to meet Redknapp in person.

"I'm very happy to play them, not because I think it's going to be easy - because I don't think it will be - but because I get to go back to London, to an English stadium and I get to see Harry and I can congratulate him for the great job he's done," he said, according to the Daily Mirror.

"I left England in 2007/8 and Spurs were not in the UEFA Cup, they were not even finishing in the first six of the Premier League.

"Martin Jol started the good work and Harry has continued it in amazing ways. I'm so happy for that. He's a friend, one of the few really good friends I made in England."

Tottenham have impressed so far in the Champions League, beating Inter and knocking out AC Milan recently and now face, arguably, their toughest test in Real Madrid.

Mourinho added: "What they've done is brilliant. They beat Inter, then they played the team who have won the European Cup the second highest number of times, AC Milan, and now they play Real Madrid, the champion of champions, who have won nine European Cups.

"It will be difficult. I know the mentality of the English teams, the way they play at home, and the character they have of playing with all their heart in every minute of every game. They have beaten Inter, knocked out Milan and are having a very good Premier League season."

Mourinho, who won six trophies with Chelse, and will be looking to win the Champions League with a third club this year, does not think it is worth speculating about a possible semi-final with Barcelona.

"The possibility of a Madrid-Barca semi-final is the same as a Tottenham-Shakhtar one," he said. "It's not worth talking about a semi-final when you don't know what teams are going to be there."

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