Real’s Mourinho upbeat despite ‘Clasico’ humbling

Reuters , Monday 12 Dec 2011

All is well with Real Madrid despite Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at home to arch-rivals Barcelona, manager Jose Mourinho said on Monday, adding that he would not swap places with any other team

Jose Murinho

“There is no feeling of inferiority,” Mourinho told a news conference. “I wouldn’t change our situation with anyone else’s.

“My motivation is as strong as ever,” he added in response to a question. “Leaders in the Champions League, (joint) leaders in La Liga and you are asking me about motivation?”

Real were three points clear of champions Barca before the opening ‘Clasico’ of the campaign at their Bernabeu stadium but slipped to second place behind the Catalans on goal difference after the defeat.

Mourinho, poached from Inter Milan 18 months ago to try to end Barca’s domination, said Real, with a game in hand while Barcelona compete in the Club World Cup in Japan, could regain the league lead going into the Christmas break if they beat Sevilla next weekend.

Mourinho left a string of first-choice players out of the squad for Tuesday’s King’s Cup last-32 first-leg game against third-tier Ponferradina, including goalkeeper Iker Casillas, playmaker Xabi Alonso, winger Angel Di Maria and striker Karim Benzema, as Real begin their defence of the trophy.

However, he called up his Portuguese compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo despite criticism of the former World Player of the Year’s performance against Barca, when he missed two clear chances and was whistled at by some home fans.

“If he is like me he doesn’t listen to whistling,” Mourinho said, joining Casillas and his fellow club captain Sergio Ramos in rallying behind Ronaldo.

“He was affected by losing a match, as we all were, but without ever losing his emotional balance,” he added. “It’s normal that he is sadder today than he was 15 days ago but there is no drama about his situation.”

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