Para Siempre Blanco

Mourinho press conference

Jose Mourinho was satisfied with the victory against Espanyol.

"We played better when we were both down to ten men"

The match:

We took three points and grabbed the first position on the table. We’ll see if we are still at the top tomorrow night after Valencia’s game. We had more chances to score in the second half and grew calmer. This team still needs to improve, but above all it needs to rest.

Satisfaction:

I am satisfied given the circumstances because it isn’t easy to play on a potato field, it isn’t easy to play a third game having had only two days to recover, and it isn’t easy to face an opponent that had nothing to lose. My team played a great game. These are the easiest games for teams who are between the fifth and tenth position of the table: they feel no pressure, they are motivated, and they are quality sides. It’s great for them if they win, but if they lose by playing well their morale is boosted nonetheless.

The second half:

We played well with Khedira and Arbeloa because the team was tighter. Our three central midfielders made us solid and we began to put more pressure, to make easier steals and to keep more possession in attack while our forwards had their backs covered. Balance comes from playing and thinking at the same time. We found balance right at the end, when the pitch grew larger because the game lacked two players but it was really smaller because our side was tighter. I hesitated at first to make two substitutions after Espanyol were left with ten men, but I had already made my mind up and my team needed to be tighter. We controlled the game better from then on.

Decisions:

Real Madrid only have one coach who can make decisions, and he always makes them after thinking carefully about them. He sometimes uses intuition, but most of his decisions are carefully thought through. My team was tired and it wasn’t tight; we were beginning to lose control for the first time in the game. Khedira, Xabi and Lass made the lines come closer together.

Fatigue:

The team is tired because it still isn’t a proper team and the coach doesn’t use rotations. I usually rotate four or five players successfully once my teams are constructed after years of work. I will do this with Real Madrid whenever I feel the team is in a different stage of construction. We will be at a different level in February if we reach the next round in the Champions League. I will use rotations then. I prefer not to use them for now.

Referee:

I prefer to talk about referees when they do a good job. I talked about the ref in San Sebastian because it was a pleasure to see such a good performance. I’d rather not comment on the ref today. He wasn’t fortunate and we were left with ten men. Espanyol were innocent enough to earn a red card just after this happened. I was too far to see Higuain being elbowed. I haven’t seen the penalty on a TV yet, so I cannot comment.

The hand-ball incident:

I work with my players to improve on defending from free-kicks. You have to protect your face when in doubt. You must jump or stay still when defending a free-kick depending on what the coach tells you, but you should never use your arms. These are negative doubts, but the referee didn’t do a good job tonight. His decision didn’t really influence the score, which is what matters and what we all ultimately want.

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