Zidane defends duo

2012-01-21 10:14

Zinedine Zidane has jumped to the defence of Pepe and Jose Mourinho, who have both been subject to intense criticism in local media after Real Madrid's King's Cup defeat to Barcelona during the week.

Mourinho's "negative" tactics in the 2-1 quarterfinal first leg home loss and Pepe's stamp on Lionel Messi's hand have seen the normally supportive Madrid-based press turning on the Portuguese pair since Wednesday's game.

"I think all the criticisms aimed at Madrid, their coach and the players are very unfair," the former Real Madrid and France midfielder told sports daily AS on Friday.

"Pepe is a player you almost never hear a squeak from off the pitch. He's a charming lad, very polite. But when he goes on the pitch, he is obsessed with winning and this anxiety to win sees him make mistakes.

"Obviously he has apologised for what he has done, but Pepe is a player who gives his all on the field of play, and sometimes he goes to the limit," added Zidane, who was brought in to work with Mourinho as first team director of football last July.

Madrid sports dailies AS and Marca both continued their attacks on Pepe and Mourinho on Friday.

'Distorted reality'

Marca questioned the club's decision to support Pepe by recording a message through their television channel on Thursday, in which he said standing on Messi's hand had been unintentional.

"Pepe has distorted reality and made Real Madrid complicit in an action which has shamed the club's fans," a Marca opinion piece said, when he "should have faced the facts and asked for forgiveness".

A Barca vice-president Carles Vilarrubi dismissed Pepe's comments.

"Nobody believes him," said Vilarrubi, who went on to draw parallels with the incident when Mourinho jabbed a finger in the eye of Barca assistant coach Tito Vilanova at the end of the Spanish Super Cup back in August.

"The problem is that people feel protected," he told Spanish radio. "After the finger-in-the-eye incident the club issued a justification for it (when Real said Mourinho had been provoked). This generates a culture where Pepe felt free to act and to do what he did.

"The whole world has seen it. Barca don't need to make official complaints."

'Incredible' statistics

Marca's leading story on Friday, titled "The seven sins of Mourinho", knocked the former Chelsea and Inter Milan coach's tactics, choice of personnel, substitutions and post-match analysis of the Cup game.

Zidane said of the attacks on Mourinho: "How can they say we need a change of coach? Are they mad or what? Look at the statistics since he has been here, they are incredible.

"To think that some doubt his commitment to Madrid and that he will stay only two years and then go. Sincerely, I would prefer that he stayed only two or three years and did something great, to someone else who stayed 10 and did nothing."

Leaders Real Madrid host Athletic Bilbao in La Liga on Sunday and will then seek to overturn their King's Cup deficit in the second leg at Barcelona next Wednesday.


  • Paul - 2012-01-21 12:24

    Does Zidane expect us to take his opinion of on field behaviour seriously, wasn't he the guy who got sent off in a World Cup final for head-butting an opponent ?

  • Brian - 2012-01-21 13:17

    Another piece of savagery by surprises there

  • Lynda - 2012-01-21 13:47

    the camera doesn't lie........just say sorry

  • George - 2012-01-21 14:03

    Zinedine I admire you so much,but I don't agree with your ideas at all....I totally agree with your words about Jose Mourinho but not with them about Pepe.Pepe is mad and all the team of Madrid pays his ugly behaviour.I don't think that Messi is a "good boy" but he knows how to control it inside the pitch. For the fans: Don't "hit" Mourinho.Remember what he have done all this time with Real.He won the Spanish Cup,Real became more competitive against Barcelona,Real qualified for the "4" best teams in Champions League after the 2001/2002 season and (finally) this year Real is 5 points over Barcelona although he lost the "El Classico".So don't find the chance to criticise one person after one defeat.Criticise him after the end of the season. Mourinho don't use Pepe again for the upcoming matches and give Jose Cajejon the chance to play more and more an more.....He 's an excellent player and he can give a lot to the most historical club in the world. HALA Madrid!

      Tokollo - 2012-01-23 08:43

      U r spot on George, unfortunatly Madrid has to go the Nou Camp and win which is going to be very difficult but achieveable. Madrid is also doing very well with their league games and they had a great run in the Champions league with the odds favouring Madrid to lift the cup. I agree as well regarding Cajejon he is a delight to watch.

  • wlwarah - 2012-01-21 14:13

    Team full of drama (Real Madrid) with less achievements since Ronaldo joined them and Maurino. Barca is the team baba

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-01-22 10:36

    Zizo Zizo were wonderful but you shamed yourself, me, my boy, your team, and football in a world cup final....for Pepe's sake do not make slight of thuggery!!!

      Tokollo - 2012-01-23 08:49

      What Zizo did in the world cup final was a disgrace from the player that I regard a being one of the best footballers to have played the beautiful game. A true marvel to watch, but the world cup does tend to spark a lot of emotions.... Aside from that Zidane is a true legend

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