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Karanka plays down Mourinho controversy

SoccerNews in La Liga 5 May 2013

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Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka is adamant Jose Mourinho’s comments about Iker Casillas were taken in the wrong context.

The criticism was derived from statements Mourinho made on Friday, when he declared he wished January signing Diego Lopez, who has since become first choice between the posts, had arrived earlier.

Speaking after Saturday’s 4-3 win over Valladolid, where goals from Angel Di Maria, Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo (two) saw off the visitors in a gripping encounter, Karanka said Mourinho’s comments were in no way meant to disrespect the goalkeeper.

“I haven’t heard what (defender) Pepe said but, if he said that there has been a lack of respect towards Iker, at no moment have we disrespected anyone,” the 39-year-old said after the match.

“It would be a lack of respect to 25 team-mates if you selected someone who was not in a condition to play. The lack of respect would have been to select a player who wasn’t right, instead of another.

“It is not that Mourinho regrets it (not signing Diego Lopez earlier), but his signing was requested and the club did not accept it.

“It is said that the coach has so much power, but it can’t be so if a player is requested and the club don’t bring him in.”

Mourinho had already been jeered – while Casillas was cheered – before the match as the line-ups were being announced, but Karanka moved yet again to quell the controversy.

“You have to respect the jeers for the coach, as I said after what happened in Dortmund. For the last three years, we have done our work, which people can like more or less. I respect them,” he said.

“The reason we didn’t come out into the technical zone is because we believed there wasn’t anything worth saying. What there was to say, we discussed in the dressing room.”

Real’s victory over Valladolid means Barcelona will not be able to lift the Liga title on Sunday, even if they beat Real Betis.

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