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The La Mancha-born trainer has continued to support his distressed defender while also speaking about Barca, the title race, and his former club.

Real Madrid coach Juande Ramos was the very first and so far one of a very select few to defend Pepe’s volatile outburst in midweek against Getafe.

As Los Blancos begin plans for their clash with Sevilla this Sunday amid much controversy and Juande prepares for a homecoming, the man from La Mancha has once again defended his Portuguese centre-back.

“Pepe knows that his actions were serious and it will not happen again,” he said in an interview with AS.

“He lost his composure and in a crazy moment, it triggered the incident. But Pepe is like a piece of bread. He’s incapable of hurting a fly. He asked us to let him face the press because he wanted to apologise.

“He told us he realised what had happened and that he had gone crazy.”

Juande was then asked if the criticism dished out on the centre-back has been too hard or if Getafe president Angel Torres’ suggestion of at least a 10-match ban would be too excessive.

“I do not want to judge the statements made by other people, but to take the pressure off the lad, I will say that he simply lost his cool,” he offered. “His repentance was spontaneous and his apology says it all.

“Besides, if he really wanted to hurt Casquero, he would have. Pepe unleashed his rage and it was a mistake, but he never wanted to harm anyone.”

Sevilla Test

The coach’s first task now will be to find a suitable replacement for the Portuguese for the trip to his old club, Sevilla.

“We have the option of [Christoph] Metzelder and Sergio Ramos, and possibly [Gabriel] Heinze depending on his recovery, although I do not think he’ll be able to travel to Seville. Still, there can be no excuses,” he warned.

“It’s normal for us to face a hostile reception and Sevilla will utilise everything they can to make sure they qualify for the Champions League.

“But Madrid work best in a fierce and volatile atmosphere and we have already shown that at San Mames [against Athletic Bilbao] where we played one of the best games of the season.”

Barca Brilliance

Juande admitted that there’s a huge gulf in difference between Barcelona and Madrid’s football, even though Los Blancos continue to match their bitter rivals win for win.

He said, “I believe that good football leads to victory and this is what we seek, but we are not obtaining it. My only explanation is that the pressure to win from fans is harming us and it’s preventing us from reaching the level required of Madrid.

“Nobody will deny that Barca are playing more brilliantly than Madrid, but then again, there’s the question of competitiveness and in this aspect, we are ahead of Barca or any other team.

“Look, we cannot make individual comparisons because when you talk about Xavi, Iniesta and Messi, you know you will lose. But Real Madrid are a team in big, capital letters and that is our strength.”

While Los Blancos visit Sevilla on Sunday for a 19:00 CET kick-off, the Blaugrana will have an even tougher task as they travel to in-form Valencia on Saturday in a weekend where the top four collide.  

KS Leong, Goal.com

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