The Portuguese trainer has backed his under-fire defender and claims no-one questioned the Camp Nou midfielder over the alleged racist remarks he made against Marcelo last season
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has leapt to the defense of Pepe after his side's 2-1 loss to Barcelona in the teams' Copa del Rey quarterfinal first leg on Wednesday.
The Brazilian-born enforcer was accused of deliberately stamping on Lionel Messi's hand during the first-leg clash at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The ex-Porto defender has since said that the incident was unintentional, but has been criticized heavily in the press both in Spain and internationally.
Mourinho, however, believes Pepe's claims that the stamp was accidental and has asked the press to stop the witch-hunt.
"If Pepe said publicly that the stamp was intentional and he told me, it would have really bothered me," Mourinho said at a press conference ahead of Sunday's clash at home to Athletic Bilbao.
"But he has said it was not intentional and I believe him. If any of you think he is a liar, say it. Let's not make this a never-ending story," he commented.
The 48-year-old tactician then brought up the accusations against Sergio Busquets last season, when he was accused of racist comments against Marcelo, and feels the media's approach was different in covering that controversy.
"I didn't see you last season doubting a player who made racist remarks and said he didn't. Everyone believed it was true, even UEFA. Now Pepe says it wasn't intentional [and nobody believes him]," he concluded.
Pepe is set to miss Sunday's Primera Division match through injury.