Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said yesterday he would rather lose the Spanish Super Cup to arch-rivals Barcelona if it meant his team could win La Liga.
On the eve of the first leg of the Super Cup at Camp Nou, Mourinho said: “If losing the Super Cup is a motivation for winning La Liga I would sign right now but I don’t think that’s how it is,” Mourinho told a news conference.
Two good: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (left) and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Pics/getty images
“It is simply the least important competition of the four that we play and in my opinion, it has no consequence on the season. But obviously it is a competition we want to win — and our opponents too.”
Besides competing in the Super Cup, Real Madrid will this season defend their La Liga title and try to win back the domestic King’s Cup from Barcelona.
The Champions League title is a coveted goal for Mourinho, who has made no secret of his ambition to achieve three victories with three different clubs after winning with FC Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010.
The coach said Barcelona was basically the same team when asked if he expected a change under new coach Tito Vilanova, promoted from his previous job as assistant to Pep Guardiola who left last season. “There may be a few new details but essentially nothing has changed. It is the same Barca we know: a quality team with great players,” Mourinho told reporters.
In the second leg of last season’s Super Cup, Mourinho famously took exception to Barca’s then assistant Vilanova and poked him in the eye in a pitch side scuffle.
Barca won 3-2 that night after drawing the first-leg in the Bernabeu and afterwards Mourinho conveniently misnamed his victim as ‘Pito Vilanova’ in the post-match press conference.
On Sunday, Vilanova launched his league campaign with a 5-1 victory over Real Sociedad and said he aimed to win the Super Cup tie. “We’re playing Madrid, so you can imagine,” he said.
No Pepe for Real tonight
Mourinho’s squad will be without Pepe, however, after the defender bashed his head in a mid-air clash with goalkeeper Iker Casillas in the 1-1 home draw with Valencia on Sunday. Pepe had to quit the field at half-time and spent a night at a Madrid hospital, where a medical report said he arrived “in a confused and agitated state.” But a scan revealed no serious damage and he improved overnight to show a “good level of awareness”, it added.
“Pepe won’t play. It is not human to risk a player for a football game, whatever the game is,” Mourinho said.
Madrid defender Raul Albiol will step in for the injured Pepe instead.