Mourinho downplays Spanish Super Cup
THE first "Clasico" of the new campaign in the Spanish Super Cup will reveal little about how Real Madrid and Barcelona will fare throughout the new season, Real coach Jose Mourinho said on Wednesday.
Thursday night’s first leg at the Nou Camp will be a first chance for fans to see how new Barca coach Tito Vilanova measures up against the La Liga champions.
"A match between rivals is always important, even in a summer tournament, but the Super Cup is the least important of the four we play during the season," Mourinho told a news conference on Wednesday.
"I believe there is no relation between the winner and what is going to happen in the whole season.
"We lost the Super Cup last season and we won the league, breaking records.
"At Inter (Milan) I also lost the Super Cup and that season we won the treble — the Cup, the Champions League and the league — and with Chelsea we won the Super Cup and didn’t win the championship."
Barca’s stormy 5-4 aggregate win last year marked a low point in relations between the archrivals. Three red cards were flashed after a melee between the players at the end, while Mourinho’s infamous finger-in-the-eye attack on Vilanova, who was Pep Guardiola’s assistant, led to bitter recriminations from both sides.
There has been a much calmer build-up to the latest clash between the Spanish powerhouses, with the head injury suffered by defender Pepe in last Sunday’s league match against Valencia a case in point.
Pepe, who knocked heads with Iker Casillas, spent Sunday night in hospital after he lost consciousness and was still being monitored by medical staff after his release on Monday.
During the week, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique tweeted his best wishes to the Portuguese international, a favourite hate figure at the Nou Camp, wishing him a swift recovery.
"Pepe will not play, it isn’t humane to risk a player for a game of football, however important it may be," Mourinho said. "He is recovering very well and we think he will be back again on Sunday without any type of risk."
With just under two weeks to go to the end of the transfer window, Real have yet to make a major move in the market while the futures of Turkey midfielder Nuri Sahin and Brazil play-maker Kaka are the subject of much media speculation.
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