Xabi Alonso has defended Jose Mourinho from criticism for his no-show at the Ballon d’Or gala this week.
AS have accused the Coach of lying about his reasons for missing the awards show on Monday evening, but Alonso has asserted that Mourinho will have the team prepared for Celta Vigo in midweek as intended.
“The boss takes decisions and yesterday I asked and he told me that he was working on tomorrow’s game. We are focused on it because tomorrow’s game is important,” commented the 31-year-old to the assembled media today.
“I do not think he is affected by the change in his image. I have asked him and he said that he was working. I do not know how many hours for, but he is meticulous, professional and I am certain that we will be fully prepared.”
Part of Mourinho’s declining image in the eyes of Madrid fans is due to his benching of Iker Casillas in favour of Antonio Adan.
“The team is as confident in Iker as they are in Adan. The other day Adan was unlucky to be sent off in the sixth minute and Iker could do little for the goals conceded. The rest are technical decisions. We fully stand behind them.
“Iker looks happy. He’s not used to being a backup, but I see him working hard to be prepared for when he does play. And the Coach has a relationship of respect with him, cordiality.”
Alonso attended the FIFA Ballon d’Or gala on Monday evening along with a handful of teammates. Named in the FIFPro World XI, the midfielder was asked if he felt all the winners were worthy, in reference to teammate Cristiano Ronaldo finishing second to Lionel Messi.
“I do not think it is appropriate for me to say whether it is right or wrong. Much has been said, it was given to Messi, we congratulate all and I have already spoken much about this.
“Cristiano? I see him as normal. We saw him at the show yesterday and this morning thinking towards Celta.
“I think Cristiano is happy at the club and that the fans are delighted for Cristiano. I have no doubt that he feels supported.”
Alonso was talking ahead of Madrid’s return leg in the Copa del Rey with Celta Vigo. Los Blancos are 2-1 down after defeat away to the Galicians at the end of 2012.
“We understand the importance of the match. For us it is a final. Hopefully the team is good and the fans will support us.
“If we progress in the Cup or not we have good feelings and I hope that we can keep this positivity from the start of the year.
“We should go into the game to win. It is important to keep a clean sheet because it will give us an advantage.
“Celta played very well against Valladolid on Sunday and I do not expect an easy game because they are going through a good time and have found a good dynamic. They are playing good football.”
The midfielder is believed to be in the middle of negotiations over a new contract at the club, but progress is so far unclear.
“It is not an issue that worries me, nor that is on the table. I do not want to talk about it because it is a private matter.”