Jose Mourinho has mocked Manuel Pellegrini’s decision to coach at Malaga after being sacked by Real Madrid at the end of last season.
Speaking ahead of Thursday’s league matchup between the sides, he also lashed out at “hypocrites” who attacked his criticisms over Spanish league scheduling.
Mourinho replaced the Chilean coach after guiding Inter to a treble of trophies last season.
“The same thing couldn’t happen with me that happened with Pellegrini because if Madrid fires me I won’t go coach Malaga, I’d go to a big club in England or Italy. I’d have no problem going back to coaching a big club,” Mourinho said.
Mourinho applauded Pellegrini’s league results in his only season with Madrid, which came runner-up to Barcelona by three points despite setting a club record total of 96 points.
But Mourinho was quick to point out that Pellegrini’s results in the Champions League and Copa del Rey – they failed to get out of the last 16 in Europe for the seventh straight year and lost to a third-tier club in the domestic cup – offered a more accurate reflection his predecessor’s tenure. Mourinho has guided Madrid to the Copa del Rey final and his team has the away-goal advantage going into the return leg of its last-16 Champions League game with Lyon.
“In the cup we have done better. In the Champions not yet, since we can still lose at home against the same opponent we did last year, and with the league I’ve got my own philosophy,” the Portuguese coach said. “Finishing second means you’re the best of the rest. It’s the same thing to finish 10 points off the champion and scoring 500 goals, it doesn’t matter – you’re the best of the rest.”
Pellegrini refused to be drawn into a row on hearing Mourinho’s comments.
“I don’t regret anything about coming here, I’m very proud to coach here,” Pellegrini said. “Everyone has their own way of thinking, of being and acting. We all go our own way.”
Mourinho also lashed out at journalistsfollowing the coverage of his complaints over the schedule, calling one a “hypocrite.” Spanish clubs are playing three matches inside 10 days with Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia also playing Champions League games either side of the period.
“If you think it’s normal that Valencia plays Schalke and then plays Zaragoza on Saturday … then, OK, stick with that reality,” Mourinho said. “It’s not normal that Valencia plays today after closing out Sunday’s games while Barcelona played Saturday. These are the types of sweets you give someone to fool them, but they don’t fool me.”