Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has defended himself from criticism that he is neglecting the products of the club’s youth sector.
Mourinho is currently without Alvaro Arbeloa, Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao in defence but has opted to play midfielder Michael Essien at left-back instead of promoting Real Madrid Castilla defenders Nacho or Casado.
“The criticism I am receiving does not make sense because I am a champion of debutants,” said the Special One in a Press conference ahead of tomorrow’s Copa del Rey tie with Alcoyano.
“From 1999 to 2003 17 players debuted with the first team in Madrid – Aranda, Zarate, Minambres, Raul Bravo, Portillo, Valdo, Ruben…of all of those the ones that had the best career were Raul Bravo and Pavon.
“Under Manuel Pellegrini, three homegrown players debuted, with a total of nine minutes between them all. It is not me who has broken this dynamic. I want players to debut and do well in the first team, but I do not want players just to fatten the squad.”
The Coach looked to suggest that Castilla boss Alberto Toril was contributing to the perceived under-use of youth players.
“Our relationship is normal. I work with the first team and he works with the second. We have a different system, a different model.
“There are players playing in the Castilla in positions that do not exist in the first team, like nine-and-a-half, the position of Jese Rodriguez. Also, they play a 4-4-2 and in that sense the players are prejudiced.
“Toril knows everything that I have said to you. He knows that with me, Nacho will never be a centre-back, but he has his authority.
“He has to decide if it is more important to finish fourth, fifth or sixth in La Segunda, or to help the progression of a player to step into the first team.”
Mourinho was also asked of the criticism that Cristiano Ronaldo has received for riling Mallorca’s fans during the weekend.
“I do not think what I say will change anything. It is what it is. I guess it is not easy for a player to be insulted in every game they play outside the Bernabeu.
“The important thing is that he does not respond with insults or a lack of education himself. You can criticise some for their reactions, but Cristiano responding to rudeness with rudeness is something I have never seen.”
Meanwhile, the Coach also confirmed that his public backing of the player for the Ballon d’Or would now take a backseat.
“For me the issue is close and our campaign for who deserves to win is over. Now we have to respect the voting and we will respect the outcome. For me the most important thing is to win games.”
The next game on the horizon is the midweek first leg Cup tie at lowly Alcoyano.
“It will not be easy to decide the game there. It is never easy to go into the field full of motivation, hope and joy to resolve the tie there.
“We want to win the tie, if we can win tomorrow, but if we come back with the tie still open, it isn’t bad. I respect the motivation of these teams. Those who do not will not have an easy game.”