Mourinho: Criticising others becoming Spain's national sport

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho insists criticising others is fast becoming the “national sport” in Spain, as his side prepare to host Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

The Blancos‘ 1-0 defeat to Real Betis last weekend saw them fall 11 points behind Barcelona at the top of the Primera Division table, casting further doubt on their title defence.

However, speaking ahead of the capital derby at the Santiago Bernabeu, the 49-year-old believes he has been harshly treated by sections of the media.

“You can applaud and whistle at me,” he told reporters at a press conference. “If you want to, I will be in the dugout at 21:00 [CET].

“Football won’t force me out just yet. I hope the fans support the team and help us win the game. Giving people stick is the national sport here, but it’s okay.”

Mourinho then hit out at critics who have overplayed the significance of Madrid’s gap behind the Blaugrana at the league summit.

I do not play for anything,” he added. “A match is meant to be enjoyed. If you win, you enjoy the experience a lot.

“If you lose, you still enjoy [being on the pitch]. We play every three days so there is not much time to be happy or sad.

“The point tally is finalised at the end of the season. People don’t have to be mathematicians to know that 14 points or eight are not the same as 11.

“They should go game by game. We always play with the intention of winning. I do not care what my players have to say.

“What I want is that, on the pitch, they all share the same mentality as me and go all out. You have to give everything. That’s better than words.”

In contrast, Atletico have built on their Europa League success last term by flying high in the Liga standings, with los Colchoneros currently in second place, and Mourinho spoke positively about his opposite number Diego Simeone.

“I have a good relationship [with Simeone],” the trainer continued. “I met him years ago when he was at Inter, and I have kept in touch with him since.

“I’m glad that things are going well for him, especially in Europe where our interests do not clash.”

Mourinho then alluded once more to the poor performance of the match referee in last week’s Liga loss to the Real Betis but hopes officiating will not overshadow the match in Madrid.

“In this game there were three teams – one that was very good and two who were bad. Tomorrow I would like to be both good and one bad,” he added.

“That being Madrid and the referee playing well and Atletico bad. But as I like football, I want us all to do well.”

The former Chelsea and Inter boss was named as one of the three finalists in the running for the Fifa Coach of the Year, along with Vicente del Bosque and Pep Guardiola, but he remained coy over his inclusion.

“I have no time to think about it,” he shrugged. “Guardiola does have time because he is on holiday. The same goes for Del Bosque, who has no match for another three months.”

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