Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has laughed off the suggestion that Chelsea could stun Barcelona and reach the Champions League final.
His former club beat Benfica 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night to earn their place in the last four against the Catalan giants.
But Mourinho, who guided Madrid past surprise package APOEL Nicosia, played down their chances of reaching the showcase event in Munich on May 19.
Asked why Barcelona will emerge victorious, he said: ‘Because they are very good. Barcelona aren’t the favourites, they are super-favourites.
‘Let me be honest, I don’t think the final will be a Real Madrid/Chelsea final. It could be Bayern or Barcelona, I just don’t think it will be Real Madrid v Chelsea and we know why.’
Madrid will face Bayern Munich after their 8-2 aggregate win and Mourinho expects a difficult test.
‘Bayern is a very powerful opponent. It is a team I know well as it is almost the same side that I played when coach of Inter Milan in the Champions League final two years ago and they have great individual players,’ he said.
‘The players and myself are looking forward to what should be a great semi-final.
‘The team is doing well, the players that were injured are getting there and we are physically prepared for the difficult April that we have.
‘We wanted to build a team to win the game. Because I didn’t think it was possible for Apoel to score four, we wanted to rest a few players and we attempted to balance things.
‘We wanted to rest Marcelo and (Esteban) Granero so we substituted them and there might have been a few defensive errors towards the end, but I don’t have any criticism, just positive words for a group that have reached this stage for two seasons in a row.’
Mourinho was full of praise for his side’s Cypriot opponents, who he said had achieved more than anyone else in this season’s competition.
‘I think in a few years people in Cyprus will realise what Apoel have done, it is the biggest achievement in Champions League this season,’ Mourinho added.
‘If Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich win it’s not the same achievement as for Apoel to reach the quarter-final.’
Apoel manager Ivan Jovanovic reflected on the end of a great journey for his side, but declared his pride at having reached the last eight for the first time in the club’s history.
‘We’re the only team at this stage in the competition to have started on July 12 (2011),’ he said.
‘This was our 16th game, we don’t have a big squad but we have worked very hard to reach the position we have. This is the end of this wonderful journey but I and the whole of Cyprus are proud of this team.
‘Real Madrid won fairly and it is a fair result, but to score two goals is no small feat. We knew after the result in Nicosia we wouldn’t advance, but we wanted to give our best against such a rival in such a stadium.’