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A-League preview: Victory favourites


New situation for Real's Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho believes it is "almost impossible" for his Real Madrid side to retain the La Liga title after last night's 2-2 draw with Espanyol left them 13 points behind leaders Barcelona.

Tito Vilanova's side wrapped up their ninth victory in a row with a 4-1 win at home to second-placed Atletico Madrid, while at the Bernabeu Juan Albin's 88th-minute equalizer ensured Espanyol took a share of the spoils.

Espanyol's Sergio Garcia had given the visitors the lead after half an hour before goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Fabio Coentrao seemed to have set Real on the way to victory.

However there was still time for Albin to shock Los Blancos late on, leaving Mourinho pessimistic about his side's chances of lifting the title for a 33rd time.

"I think it is almost impossible," he told reporters after the match. "What we have to do is play every match to win without worrying about whether we are first, second or third or whether our direct rivals won or lost."

Vilanova, however, said Sunday he doesn't believe the La Liga title race is over just yet.

"In my first year (2008-09) we were 12 points back and we had to go to the Bernabeu and play for the title," Vilanova said. "Now there's a team that's only nine points behind us.

"I don't think that this title is ours to lose. If there is a team that has the capacity to win a lot of points, and they overtake us, then they deserve the title. It happened in 2009 and it could happen again," he said. "La Liga is not easy and it certainly isn't boring."

Real's draw Sunday only adds to the pressure on the Portuguese coach and although the club's president Florentino Perez defended him last week, describing him as "the best coach in the world," Mourinho acknowledges his team's performances have not been as good as they should be.

"We just have to try to improve and win matches. If we improve in the league it will help us improve in the Cup and the Champions League," he said.

"If we want to have a chance in these two competitions we have to be stronger. I've never seen a situation like this where I have lost that many points and my team was so far from its aims, in this case the league," he said.

"It is a new situation for me but I do not make a big drama about it. It is a new stage in my career and I will try to do my best. ... But in all my years of coaching we have always, or almost always, met our targets and therefore this is a new situation for me."

Information from Press Association was used in this report.


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