Mourinho's top 10 excuses for poor Real Madrid displays

The Portuguese blamed his players' attitude after defeat at Celta Vigo on Tuesday, his side's sixth of the season, but has cited many other factors in his time at the Spanish side
By Ben Hayward | Spanish Football Writer

Jose Mourinho is under pressure. The Portuguese saw his side lose their sixth match of the season on Wednesday night, as they went down 2-1 in the Copa del Rey, and it would have been worse had Cristiano Ronaldo not struck a late goal which makes Madrid favourites to progress to the last eight.

Mourinho's Madrid have now lost as many times this term as in his debut season at the Santiago Bernabeu (six), and last night's defeat means his team have now been beaten in all four competitions in 2012-13 (Liga, Champions League, Spanish Supercopa and Copa del Rey).

The Supercopa was claimed after beating Barca in the second leg, but the champions are 11 points adrift of the Catalans in the Primera Division and looked second best in both games against Borussia Dortmund (a loss and a draw) in the Champions League, having to settle for the runners-up spot in Group D.

The Portuguese has never lost more than nine times in a single season (at Uniao Leiria and Porto in 2001-02), but that record is now in danger as he approaches Christmas with six losses suffered already.

And he is running out of reasons for his side's sub-par showings. Here, takes a look at 10 of the coach's excuses since moving to Madrid in 2010.

Probably his favourite. Mourinho produced a list of 13 refereeing mistakes in his first season after beating Sevilla 1-0, claimed Barcelona would be "happy with Iturralde" ahead of his first Clasico (which Madrid lost 5-0 at Camp Nou in November 2010) and told reporters the officials had made "two big errors" in the recent loss at Betis. He also complained after the first-leg defeat by Barca in the Spanish Supercopa and went even further following his side's Champions League exit to the Catalans in 2010-11, blaming Uefa and even citing Unicef in his press-room rant, as well as the officials.

After the defeat at Borussia Dortmund in October, the Portuguese defended his decision to field Michael Essien at left-back instead of youngster Nacho (in the absence of Marcelo, Fabio Coentrao and Alvaro Arbeloa through injury) by attacking the club's cantera in a press conference a few days later. He went on to cite the players from the youth team who had made their debuts in the Vicente Del Bosque era (1999 to 2003) and claimed (dubiously) to have handed more youngsters their first starts (many had been in friendlies, however). He then took all the credit as Alvaro Morata scored the winner against Levante, even though both Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain had been sidelined.

In his first season at the Santiago Bernabeu, Mourinho complained of a lack of support at institutional level. "My team deserves to be defended by the club. If they want to hide behind the coach, then fine. The club have a structure, but I want them to defend my team." His complaints eventually led to the departure of Jorge Valdano, but this season he has also hit out at the Madrid hierarchy. After the draw at Manchester City he said he was "always the bad guy in the film" as only he talked about the officials. The Portuguese has also hit out at the club for their signing policy, notably for their unwillingness to bring in a striker in his first season.

The 49-year-old moaned last season as "only 300" Madrid fans made the short trip to Rayo Vallecano to watch their team in the capital clash at Vallecas, but he has been even more critical of the atmosphere at the Bernabeu. "I want to say 'thank you' to the few fans behind the goal because if it wasn't for them, the stadium would have been empty," he said after Madrid thrashed Osasuna last season in a midday match. And after the 2-2 draw with Dortmund recently, he added: "If, like me, you have been here for two and a half years, you are used to the 'cold' atmosphere [at the Bernabeu]."

Following the defeat at Betis late last month, Mourinho claimed the fixture list was controlled by "others", by which he meant Barcelona. The Catalans had played in the Champions League on Tuesday before featuring in La Liga on Sunday, while Madrid were forced to feature on Wednesday and Saturday. "It's obvious that other teams are controlling the calendar," he complained. "They are laughing behind my back." Back in September, however, Barca had played on Wednesday in Europe against Spartak Moscow before a Saturday start in La Liga, while Madrid were afforded extra rest.

In his debut season, Mourinho accused Sporting Gijon of facilitating things for Barcelona after the late Manolo Preciado made nine changes to his side for the Camp Nou clash. "They gifted the game by playing with their second team," he lamented. And after a draw at Levante in 2010-11, he complained: "Only Real Madrid wanted to play football - I am happy that none of my players ended up in hospital." In 2011, following a goalless draw at Racing, he accused the Cantabrians of diving and time-wasting, even claiming the buggy brought out to offer medical assistance had been used as a deliberate tactic to put off his side.

Mourinho's first few fixtures at home in 2010-11 were unconvincing but the coach attributed his side's stuttering start to the state of the pitch at the Santiago Bernabeu. After a 3-0 win over Espanyol, he said: "The play was not good, but I'm satisfied; the team was tired, we were up against a rival with nothing to lose - and we were playing on a potato field." After their coach's complaint, Madrid moved quickly to replace the playing surface at the Bernabeu.

The former Chelsea and Inter coach criticised his own players after the loss at Celta on Wednesday by claiming Raphael Varane had been better than several of the others despite playing on through injury. After losing at Getafe earlier this season, he simply said his players had been "unacceptable", while lamenting that his team looked "terrible from the very first minute" in the defeat at Sevilla. Following the loss at Betis, he then attacked his side for their inability to play two games in quick succession.

Mourinho's prickly relationship with the Madrid media has deteriorated even further this season. On Wednesday night, he told a journalist: "Your tone is always negative - draw your own conclusions from the match." Last season, the Portuguese accused the press of attempting to cause conflicts within the club. "The ones writing that Madrid will be champions are the same ones trying to provoke divisions and conflicts," he said. Recently, after Real drew in Manchester and City went out of the Champions League, he quipped: "If it were me who had been knocked out, they wouldn't let me go back to Madrid."

Mourinho has criticised Castilla coach Alberto Toril for using a different system to the senior side, believing his players are therefore unprepared for first-team action. "They have a different model," the Portuguese said recently. "There are players at Castilla who play in positions which don't exist in the first team." He went on to cite support striker Jese and Nacho, a full-back converted to a central defender in the B team. "He [Toril] has his autonomy. He must decide whether it's more important to finish fourth, fifth or six in Segunda, or to help the progression of players to the first team."

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