Mourinho maintains silence in wake of Madrid turmoil

Real Madrid’s domination of La Liga this season is in danger of being undermined by a lack of discipline on the pitch and controversy off it, as the fall-out from last Wednesday’s draw at Villarreal continues.

Jose Mourinho refused to speak to the media after the stalemate against the Primera Liga strugglers, in protest at what the Coach – and his players – saw as a series of unjust refereeing decisions against his team at El Madrigal.

The Portuguese was shown a red card by referee Jose Luis Paradas Romero, along with Sergio Ramos, Mesut Ozil and fitness coach Rui Faria. Contrary to some reports, defender Pepe was not shown a red card as the players left the pitch, but was reported to have verbally abused the official in the tunnel after the game.

Pepe was handed a two-match ban by the Spanish Football Federation’s competition committee for his comments, while Mourinho and Ozil’s one-game suspensions meant both had to sit out Saturday’s 5-1 win over Real Sociedad. Faria must stay away from the dugout for two matches following his dismissal from the bench.

Madrid cancelled their pre-match Press conference ahead of Saturday’s game at the Santiago Bernabeu, apparently at Mourinho’s request. The club also refused to field anyone to speak to the Press afterwards, despite Los Blancos’ comfortable 5-1 victory against the San Sebastian side.

Mourinho did eventually break his silence on Monday at a Press conference ahead of tonight’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against APOEL Nicosia in Cyprus, and was inevitably asked about the events of the previous week and the media silence imposed by the club.

“I do not have to justify anything,” the Portuguese Coach insisted. “I am not responsible for the imposition of this silence or for what has caused it.”

Mourinho has now seen dismissals in 104 games – including seven in 11 matches against Barcelona – since his arrival at the Bernabeu in the summer of 2010. Pepe and Ramos are the worst offenders, with four red cards each, although the former Sevilla defender’s sending-off against Villarreal has since been down-graded to a yellow card. Alvaro Arbeloa has received three expulsions under the Portuguese and Marcelo, Angel Di Maria, Ozil and Ricardo Carvalho two each.

With Mourinho and those closest to him continuing to shun the media, Madrid’s sporting director Miguel Pardeza expressed his personal disappointment at what he saw as uneven treatment between Los Blancos and other clubs in La Liga, including their fiercest rivals.

“We just want to play under the same conditions as any other team. All we are asking for is to be treated like the rest,” said Pardeza, according to Marca. “We share the team’s outrage and perplexity with what’s happened. We understand that some players were unable to suppress their astonishment and frustration. This was a refereeing performance that we have yet to see for Barcelona. We are concerned about the apparent unequal treatment.”

Madrid were apparently unhappy when Villarreal striker Marco Ruben escaped a red card after appearing to receive two bookings, although it later transpired that the second was intended for Marcos Senna, scorer of the home side’s equalising goal so hotly disputed by Mourinho.

In a season when Real Madrid have swept most teams aside with apparent contempt, the four points dropped in successive draws with Malaga and Villarreal could be seen as more than a minor wobble. Their 10-point advantage over Barcelona was slashed to six, but that remains a not insignificant margin.

The events of the past week are the latest example of Real Madrid closing ranks in response to their own indiscipline. To say there is a crisis at the Bernabeu is probably an exaggeration, but with El Clasico merely a month away, the tension is unlikely to fade.

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