Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho refused to divulge his starting line-up for the Rayo Vallecano game at a Saturday Press conference.
The Portuguese takes his team the short trip across the Spanish capital tomorrow to take on Paco Jemez’s men at the Campo de Futbol de Vallecas, but he was giving no clues as to the side he will select for the clash.
“The players don’t know and I never reveal the team,” said Mourinho, who when asked about Sergio Ramos being dropped for the Champions League game with Manchester City was very clear in his response.
“I could explain why Ramos didn’t play but I’ll ask you a question. Why don’t we talk about Raphael Varane?
“Why were we not talking about Varane’s sadness a week ago and about why he wasn’t playing? He has a good game and nobody talks about it. Explain that to me and I’ll explain about Ramos with pleasure.
“You have the tendency to talk about who isn’t playing, not who is. There is no justification for what you do, forgetting about those who play and have a good game.”
Neither did the 49-year-old want to enter into a discussion about his team’s defensive failings in the defeat at Sevilla, when Ramos was in the side.
“I don’t want to define Ramos’ role because he didn’t play in the last match and both Pepe and Varane did well. Neither of the two goals [against City] were the defence’s fault.
“The first was a counter-attack when the full-backs were advanced and the midfield not compact, while with the second [Aleksandar] Kolarov did not mean to score. “Therefore, I would analyse the work of Pepe and Varane but I’d like to do it in a more comprehensive way. Until there is a series of games when they play to their maximum then I’ll always have doubts.
“When my team was not playing well it was my fault and it was the players who responded positively. If they found that motivation themselves it is to their credit and they must continue in that manner.”
Nonetheless, Mourinho thought the Champions League performance against City was a positive one for his team.
“We’ll see if the players have the same attitude. I liked how they played and saw some positive aspects, as we have alternated between great matches with great motivation and negative ones in which we have not measured up.”
He also gave his opinion on goalkeeper Iker Casillas’ non-celebration of Cristiano Ronaldo’s winning goal against Roberto Mancini’s outfit.
“Everyone reacts in their own way and there was nothing to it. There are goals when I don’t get up, but in that game I did what I did. It’s the same for players and supporters.
“The key is to score, win and achieve your objective. It’s doesn’t matter whether you celebrate or not because the joy is still the same.”
Finally, Mourinho commented on Sunday’s opponents Rayo, against whom he is not expecting an easy ride.
“I don’t know whether Vallecas is the right stadium to get back on track. Last year was very difficult but we won. I’m not anticipating an easy game because I know it will be tough.
“Besides, when you listen to what the Rayo players have had to say you realise that they are motivated and won’t be going out just to draw.
“Every game is difficult and you must respect every opponent,” he concluded.