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Jose Mourinho has told Real Madrid the rigours of the Russian winter and the artificial pitch will be no excuses when they face CSKA Moscow.

Mourinho’s men will find themselves playing in sub-zero temperatures in Tuesday night’s Champions Leaguie last 16 first-leg clash at the Stadion Luzhniki as they look to continue their perfect record in this season’s competition.

The Portuguese said on Real’s official website: “We’ll have to be stronger than the adverse conditions we’ll face.

“The grass and the temperature will be tough to deal with. These are new conditions for us, but mentality and ambition are stronger than all those factors.”

And it will not only be the conditions standing in Madrid’s way, with Mourinho wary of the threat posed by CSKA despite the hosts having not been in competitive action since the Russian Premier League started its winter break at the end of November.

“CSKA’s squad have been together for a long time and that makes them very dangerous,” said Mourinho, a Champions League winner with Porto and Inter Milan.

“They should be respected. We will not kid around against them and we will give our all in the match.

“CSKA have a similar team to the one I faced with Inter Milan. They’ve lost Vagner [Love], but they have [Seydou] Doumbia and [Ahmed] Musa. They are a strong side financially and a strong opponent.”

Lassana Diarra remains sidelined for the visitors and Angel di Maria also misses out through injury, but Xabi Alonso, Kaka, Esteban Granero, Nuri Sahin and Sami Khedira have all travelled.

Madrid head into the match boasting a 10-point lead over Barcelona at the top of the Primera Division standings, and Mourinho has not taken his eye off the prize in the Champions League either.

“This match is too important to make changes to the team or reserve players,” he said. “We have a solid squad and changes are made according to the characteristics of a game rather than quality.

“I’ve chosen the men I think will do better tomorrow against a team that has good tactics and is used to playing in the cold.

“My men have a great psychological attitude in every championship. Their mentality is very good and professional, giving serious performances in every match.

“I’m sure we’ll win an important title this season by working this way, but we have to focus on one game at a time.”

CSKA coach Leonid Slutsky accepts his side’s lack of recent competitive action could prove an advantage for Madrid, but took inspiration from Zenit St Petersburg’s 3-2 victory over Benfica in the first leg of their last-16 tie last Wednesday.

Asked at his pre-match press conference whether the situation would benefit the Spanish side, he replied: “In theory, yes. It is clear that we will be playing our first game after the break, and that Real have been playing match after match and are full of confidence.

“On the other hand there is the example of Zenit, who met with an ‘in season’ team and appeared more functional. So that tells us that you can prepare for such matches with no official games.

“Hopefully, we can also compensate for the lack of match practice with our level of readiness.”

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