Mourinho praises UEFA for Champions League changes

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MADRID (AP) -- More accustomed to criticizing UEFA, Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has praised president Michel Platini for changing the format to allow a wider European representation in the Champions League.

Mourinho guided record nine-time champion Madrid into the quarterfinals with a 4-1 win over CSKA Moscow on Wednesday. One of the opponents his team could draw on Friday is APOEL, the first Cypriot side to progress to the last eight of the competition.

Mourinho says Platini deserves credit for awarding more places to countries with lower-profile leagues, giving the competition better overall "representation."

The Portuguese coach was banned last season for accusing UEFA of mounting a conspiracy to help Barcelona reach the final.