Real Madrid assistant Coach Aitor Karanka has denied that Jose Mourinho is in conflict with the governing body UEFA.
For the second week running Karanka filled in for Mourinho at his Friday Press conference, but the Portuguese still managed to dominate proceedings, with questions being asked about his joke that UEFA had given him a plaque to commemorate overseeing 100 games in the Champions League, and his criticism of Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi’s performance in the 1-1 draw with Manchester City.
“There is no irony or anything,” Karanka remarked. “Mourinho got a call before the game from another Coach to congratulate him on the 100 games, and the same Coach said that UEFA had offered him a plaque when he reached the same landmark.
“We must abide by the referees we are given. We are here to work, doing well and winning titles, always looking to give the maximum. The Coach has been here for years and is enjoying it. He has the strength and the desire to continue working and earning titles, that’s why we’re here.”
The former defender is impressed with tomorrow’s opponents Real Betis but irritated that the Merengues have not had enough time to recover from Wednesday’s exertions.
“This week has been tough for Betis, but they have been going well. We have to get the three points.
“We return to play having had one day of rest. We arrived home at five in the morning. “
Karanka then gave an update on the club’s injury situation, before insisting Mesut Ozil’s exclusion in Manchester was purely down to football reasons, as rumours begin to link the German with a move to City.
“Marcelo’s injury is a long one and we’ll see how it evolves. Soon he’ll be off crutches. Gonzalo Higuain has a muscle injury and has to be careful. Michael Essien’s problem is not an injury, but an allergic reaction to a drug.
“[Ozil’s substitution] was a technical and tactical decision. We believed that Luka [Modric] could give us more than Mesut.”