Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka has defended Jose Mourinho’s criticism of UEFA after the Champions League draw at Manchester City.
Real were held 1-1 in England on Wednesday in what was Mourinho’s 100th Champions League match as a manager, with the Portuguese making sarcastic reference to the lack of any official commemoration.
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson had reportedly told Mourinho he received a plaque from European football’s governing body when he passed the same milestone.
Speaking ahead of Madrid’s Liga match against Real Betis, Karanka insisted Mourinho’s comments have been taken out of context.
“No, I don’t think he was being sarcastic when he said ‘thanks for nothing’,” Karanka said.
“The thing is that he got a call from another manager to congratulate him for those 100 matches, and that very manager told him that when he reached his 100 he received a memento from UEFA. That’s why Mourinho said that.”
When asked if Mourinho felt everyone was against him, Karanka said: “No, I think he’s been working long enough to be over that. He is very strong and, despite all the time he’s being coaching, he still wants to keep fighting for titles, which is what we are all here for.”
With Real in action late on Saturday, Karanka also revealed his concern at having one day less than usual to prepare following a European fixture.
“Well, the players didn’t really have time enough (to recover after playing in Europe),” he said.
“We arrived home at 5am so we need to see how they are and we are thinking of rotating some players because of this.”
Real are third in La Liga, eight points behind leaders Barcelona and five back from second-placed Atletico Madrid.