Jose's general Carvalho is well read on what to expect of Tottenham

04 April 2011 08:29
Old Blue: Ricardo Carvalho wants a reunion with John Terry

Before he retires to his Madrid hotel room on Monday night Ricardo Carvalho will be given a piece of paper by Jose Mourinho outlining the strengths and weaknesses of the Tottenham players he is most likely to face on Tuesday.

It's the standard bedtime reading for Mourinho's troops and nothing new for Carvalho who has been Jose's trusted general for most of his career. He was by his side when little Porto won the European Cup in 2004; he won two league titles with him at Chelsea before being one of those left behind in 2008 when, post-Mourinho, they reached the Champions League final only to fall a penalty short of glory.

Now he wants a third European Cup final and if possible against John Terry, whose leadership in defeat that night in Moscow he has still not forgotten.

Of those famous Mourinho checklists,Carvalho said: 'He gives us a piece of paper with the qualities of theplayer you are most likely to come up against, what he is most likelyto do and the move he performs most.'

The Real Madrid coach insists on hisplayers staying in a hotel the night before home games - killing theboredom by studying their opponents and creating a focus they then takeinto the game.

It is a strategy that worked 150times without fail in the league - that incredible unbeaten home runstretching nine years that came to an end at the weekend.

Regardless of what happens between now and the end of the season, Mourinho has transformed Real Madrid into the kind of shape that has enabled a return to the Champions League quarter-finals after a six-year absence.

The revolution is something Carvalho has seen before at Porto and Chelsea. 'He came to Porto in January and I was not playing until March,' he said. 'But you noticed straight away that everything was new and that the impact was instant. 

Trusted general: Jose Mourinho has managed Carvalho for seven seasons at three clubs

'He believes the collective is always more important than the individual. If the group is strong then all the individuals will be strong too. And he knows that there is no time, so it is important to start winning right from the off whether you are playing well or not. You have to adapt a little more each day to his methods.'

Carvalho scored the first goal of the Mourinho era at Real in a 1-0 home win and he has scored three times this season, but it's a goal he scored against Tottenham for Chelsea in the 2006-07 season that comes to mind ahead of tomorrow's meeting.

'I hit the ball cleanly from about 30 metres out and we won 1-0. It was a game that we could not afford to lose because Manchester United were just three points ahead,' he said.

Chelsea did not win the league that year and Mourinho left the following season. Was Roman Abramovich's biggest mistake letting him leave before he could deliver the Champions League?

'Well the year after he left we reached the final,' joked Carvalho before glazing over, transformed back to those exhausting 120 minutes plus penalties against United.

Chelsea ambition: The Portuguese pair would love to face Chelsea in the final

'It was incredible how we lost that final,' he says. 'It was such a great opportunity. We were ready to celebrate. Then when Terry missed, we just looked at each other, and then the heads went down.'

Carvalho's central defensive partnership with Terry was the bedrock of that Chelsea side and he says the England captain's leadership qualities were never better than on that night.

'We met up in the hotel afterwards and he did not hide away in his room. We were all together and he was with us, and that took an awful lot of strength. He looked dead but he was there with us, and for us. That was incredible.'

The European Cup remains an obsession for Chelsea but an even greater one for Real Madrid according to Carvalho. 'You certainly know when you play the Champions League games here how much it means,' he said.

So would the perfect Wembley scenario be a reunion with his former team-mates?

'Definitely,' adds Carvalho. 'I know how much it would mean to them - to the club and the players. I still talk to many of them and they still mean a lot to me.'

Final heartache: John Terry is distraught after missing a penalty in the 2008 Champions League final

Tottenham is a major a hurdle before any possible final and Carvalho knows one of their strengths is their variety in attack.

'They are very different,' he says of Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe. 'Crouch is actually good on the ground but he is not so quick. Defoe has the pace to get beyond you.'

Whoever starts, they will find Carvalho at the peak of his powers despite appearing to be a stop-gap signing.

'I only worry about whether I am at my best. I'm not the quickest or biggest but if I feel comfortable then I don't need to worry whether it's Crouch or Defoe. When I arrived I can understand how some people criticised the move because I was 32.'

Carvalho knows a good individual campaign will count for nothing without a trophy.

Speaking like a veteran of almost seven seasons with Mourinho, he adds: 'We are still growing as a side but it is important to win. If you want to grow as a team you need to win together.'

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 Explore more:People: John Terry, Roman Abramovich, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Jose Mourinho Places: Madrid, Moscow, United Kingdom

Source: Daily_Mail

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