Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has insisted that he has not created divisions within his squad, ahead of the Blancos’ Copa Del Rey quarter-final with Barcelona on Wednesday.
Punto Pelota reported on Sunday that the Portuguese trainer would vacate his post in June, and goalkeeper Iker Casillas was the mole who leaked the story which allegedly saw team-mate Sergio Ramos participate in a bust-up with the coach in training.
However, Mourinho appeared to rubbish the story, claiming that the board have shown him their backing and the team is devoid of any fractious relationships.
“I do not provoke clans,” assured the trainer at his press conference. “I know nothing about the leaks. I feel very supported by the board, we’re currently in the midst of a very good spell.”
Mourinho then proceeded to speak about his squad preparations for the upcoming Clasico meeting between the two sides, and admitted defender Pepe will start the match if he is given the green light to feature, despite choosing to remain coy on the rest of his selections.
“If Pepe is fit, then he will play. There are question marks over him, Granero and Lass, all whom are having some troubles, but tomorrow we will train and I will decide whether they are able to play,” continued Mourinho.
“I have no idea about my starting XI yet. I have many decisions to make over certain players, so many questions are still unanswered. As in the first game, I had doubts until the end, and the same will happen tomorrow.
“I will not answer [any question related to what team I will pick]. I’m the coach and I do not have to explain what approach I choose publicly.”
Mourinho also gave his opinion on arch-rivals Barcelona, who take a 2-1 lead into the return leg of the tie, stating that he will not alter his approach regardless of what players turn out for the Blaugrana.
“I think my team has a chance to play the semi-finals, so we will try our best,” mused Mourinho. “But we know against our opponent we lost 2-1 the first time, so there is also a chance we won’t make it.
“Barcelona changing their squad around does not change much for me [in terms of preparation]. They have their game and their principles, even though the players can change.”
The former Chelsea boss then finished his press conference by airing his view that people have blown their recent losses to Barcelona out of proportion, and instead preferring to focus on the achievements he has already attained since his arrival from Inter last summer.
“We have five points more than the team that everyone thinks is the best in the world,” exclaimed Mourinho. “It is because we are not doing as badly and have as many problems as people think we have.
“When I came here the club had a tradition of being eliminated from the Copa del Rey by teams from the lower divisions.
“When I arrived, we were not seeded in the Champions League and now we have the record for most wins in the group stage. I seem to have so many problems.
“This game does not mark a before and after in my career,” concluded Mourinho.
Kick-off at the Santiago Bernabeu is scheduled for 21:00 CET, as a place in the last four of the domestic cup competition is at stake.