Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho is no stranger to controversy. The Special One has been known to ruffle a few feathers from time to time, but the coach was quick to claim his innocence when reports of cheating surfaced following his most recent Champions League match.
Mourinho’s Los Blancos easily beat Ajax 4-0 on Tuesday night and both Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos were awarded yellow cards for deliberately slow play in the remaining minutes of match. The two players will be suspended for Real Madrid’s final qualifying match and this will actually favor Real Madrid’s chances in the second round.
Real Madrid has already qualified for the next round of the tournament with first place results in their group and having two of their best players sit out the final qualifying match only further assures their health and allows them to return to the critical stretch of matches with a clean disciplinary slate. The UEFA has announced that they are looking into the time-wasting incident and will decide whether or not to suspend the two players for their first knockout round match if it was clear that Mourinho had signaled them to receive the cards by wasting time.
Mourinho admits that he communicates with his players during the game, but denies signaling his players to waste time or receive cards because he wants to win every game:
I spoke with many players throughout the game, not only with Ramos and Alonso. The two red cards were the result of strange referee bookings in an easy game to monitor. I didn’t like them one bit, but if Ramos or Alonso can’t face Auxerre others will take their place. We will not give our game against the French away. We want to win all our matches.
And it’s a bit of a strange scenario, but if there is clear evidence that this is what the players were in fact doing then they should receive punishments for the next round rather than a match that doesn’t matter.