Wednesday night’s defeat in the first-leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final tie with the Catalans means that Los Blancos have now failed to defeat their rivals in any of their four meetings so far this season.
Consequently, Mourinho was asked after the game how he would feel if his side managed to win La Liga, in which they currently have a five-point lead over Barca, without having triumphed at least once in a Clasico.
The Portuguese replied to reporters after the game: “I’d feel great.”
Mourinho took full responsibility for his side’s latest loss to Barca but when prompted for his thoughts on the performances of Ricardo Carvalho, after months out through injury, and Hamit Altintop, who has seen little game time this season, the former Inter boss suggested that some of his first-team regulars had let him down.
“They [Carvalho and Altintop] both played very well,” he claimed. “People who normally play very well did not do as well.
“Altintop did his job with personality and Carvalho also. I have to defend both because they approached a tough game without any fear.
“The easiest thing for Carvalho to have done would have been to say that he could not play in a game of this size.”
Looking ahead to the return leg at Camp Nou, Mourinho added that it is imperative that Madrid strike early.
“We must score first to unsettle them,” he admitted. “But Barcelona is a great team and my team must make no defensive errors.”
Before the second leg, Madrid must take on Athletic Bilbao in La Liga this weekend.
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