MADRID, Jan 31, 2011 (AFP) - Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho was surprisingly calm after his side's 1-0 loss at Osasuna on Sunday, refusing to make excuses or blame the players for a defeat that left Madrid seven points behind league leaders Barcelona.
A Javier Camunas goal on 62 minutes condemned Mourinho to his second league defeat in charge and leave Real with a mountain to climb to dethrone champions Barcelona.
"I can't fault the players as they did their job," said Mourinho. "We didn't deserve to lose the three points but we lost against a team that gave everything and had the whole week to prepare for the match.
"In recent matches we haven't conceded goals and one goal is not dramatic as we had chances to score.
"In the first half Karim (Benzema) had a good opportunity and Cristiano (Ronaldo) another with a one on one. We had chances in the second half but couldn't score against a team that defended very well."
Mourinho threw on new signing Emmanuel Adebayor, on loan from Manchester City until the end of the season, but the debutant could not conjure up an equaliser as Real fired blanks.
"I prefer to lose like that, when the opposition have done a lot, rather than losing because my team gave away the match," Mourinho added. "We didn't give anything away here. You give away points if you don't fight and because you are relaxed but that wasn't the case."
It meant 12 points dropped on the road for Madrid, in stark comparison to Barcelona who have won all 10 of their away matches, but Mourinho refused to be drawn on whether it spelled the end of Madrid's title race.
|Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho gestures during the Spanish King's Cup semifinal first leg Sevilla FC vs Real Madrid on January 26, 2011 at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Sevilla. Real Madrid won 1-0. AFP|
"It is always difficult in Pamplona and I don't think many teams win here," Mourinho added. "It is a match that you win by being solid defensively and scoring.
"We had chances but didn't take them and it is three points lost and our second league defeat of the season. Congratulations to Osasuna for giving their all to get a positive result, but I am calm as I don't have anything to reproach the players for."
The only thing that didn't sit well with the former Chelsea coach was Osasuna's apparent ploy of throwing an extra ball on to the pitch to interrupt the game.
"One thing that I don't like, because it is not fair play, is when you are playing and they put two balls on the pitch," said Mourinho. "They (Osasuna) did it three times and it is a strategy. Here in Spain using two balls is a common type of tactic."
Madrid sporting director Jorge Valdano said Real would not give up in the title race, pointing out that Madrid came from behind to challenge Barcelona last season and only lost the league title on the final day of the season.
"It is a bad result but this club doesn't give up easily," said Valdano. "The league doesn't finish in the middle of the season. Something similar to this happened to us last season and we fought for the league title."
Madrid's next match is on Wednesday when they host Sevilla in the second leg of the Kings Cup semi-final having won the first leg in Seville 1-0.