Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has defended his decision to leave central defender Sergio Ramos out of the side that defeated Manchester City and hinted he was prepared to do the same when his side play Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.
Ramos was left out on Tuesday and replaced by Rafael Varene after Mourinho criticised his side for last weekend's defeat to Sevilla and many saw the move as a punishment for the defender, one of the strongest voices in the dressing room, reports Xinhua.
The move has also been seen as defending the Portuguese players in the Madrid squad, such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe against the Spanish block, which also includes Xabi Alonso and Iker Casillas, but when asked about the decision, Mourinho was bullish in his reply on Saturday.
"Doesn't Varene have the right to play?" he asked when questioned about Ramos. "Pepe and Varene, who played in the last game, did very well. They played it easy and simple and did well in the air. We conceded two goals, but neither was fault of the central defenders."
"Why did nobody talk about Varene being sad because he had not played and his talent has not been used," he said.
But he refused to say whether Ramos would play in Vallecas or not.
The Madrid coach also denied rumours of bad relations between the Spanish and the Portuguese players at the club.
"There is no conflict here," he said. "Everyone reacts how they react, but there is nothing more to it than that. The main thing is to score goals and win to keep everyone satisfied."