Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho slammed the Liga calendar and the referee’s performance after seeing his team lose 1-0 to Real Betis.
A goal from Benat in the 17th minute at Estadio Benito Villamarin proved to be the winner on Saturday, condemning Real to their third defeat of the league season.
The reigning champions were unhappy at having a short recovery period following their Champions League match away to Manchester City on Wednesday, with Mourinho hinting at a conspiracy against his club.
League leaders Barcelona fulfilled their Champions League obligations – a long away trip to Spartak Moscow – on Tuesday, and are not due back in Liga action until Sunday, when they can go 11 points clear of Real with victory away to Levante.
“I try to be fair and objective, and when my team lose, I do not seek excuses or blame other things,” Mourinho said.
“Obviously a team that played on Wednesday should not have to play today.
“Obviously there are other teams that have control of the match calendar, which we don’t have, but we are talking about top professionals and you have to take into account mental toughness, ambition and spirit.
“A player of 23 or 24 years should be able to play two games in four days. As always, because I speak out, and I’m the only one who has spoken out, I’ll be the bad guy.”
“When we win, we all win, but when we lose, the coach loses. Why is it my fault?
“It’s possible that we could finish this year 11, 13 or nine points behind Barcelona. The Liga race is still open but we’re neither optimistic nor pessimistic. I can’t focus on a single competition.”
Allegations of favouritism aside, Real can consider themselves unfortunate after seeing a Karim Benzema goal harshly ruled out for offside, while they were also denied what appeared a certain penalty kick.
“(The referee) was hugely at fault for a wrongly disallowed Benzema goal and a clear penalty in the closing minutes,” Mourinho said.
“But (Betis) deserve my respect because they outplayed Real Madrid.”
“After a difficult week and some conflict with his players, the Betis fans have helped (coach Pepe Mel’s) team win.
“I’ve congratulated the Betis players because they left everything on the pitch and fought with a spirit of sacrifice.”