Real Madrid fans have run out of patience with coach Jose Mourinho’s flirtations with his former club Chelsea, as the Santiago Bernabeu faithful roundly booed the Portuguese after his name was introduced prior to Real’s 6-2 thrashing of Malaga on Wednesday. Mourinho, by most accounts, is on his way back to Stamford Bridge this summer, although nothing has been confirmed yet. In addition to hinting at his own departure, Mourinho has publicly criticized goalkeeper Iker Casillas and defender Pepe in press conferences since Real’s UEFA Champions League semifinal loss to Borussia Dortmund.
Nevertheless, after the Malaga game, assistant coachAitor Karanka was placed in the awkward position of defending Mourinho. Regarding the boos he received, “We don’t pay much attention to that,” Karanka said. “In any case, the fans express their feelings while the coaching staff try to get the best performance out of the players. However, we respect their views.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mourinho left Pepe out of the squad altogether, after the defender criticized him four days ago. Again, Karanka defended the decision. “Before you used to rip Pepe apart, now you are his defenders. It surprises me,” he said.
Mourinho wasn’t the only target of the Madrid fans derision. Striker Gonzalo Higuain, who squandered several chances in the UCL Semifinal second-leg at home to Dortmund, was booed when he replaced Karim Benzema in the second half. “That's soccer,” Karanka said. “Last year the fans were shouting, ‘Pipa [Higuain's nickname] please stay’ after we won the league in Bilbao. We know he's not in the best form, but he has to keep on working. He knows what the coaching staff think of him.”