MADRID (AFP) – Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola on Saturday responded angrily to comments made by Real Madrid counterpart Jose Mourinho a day earlier accusing him of complaining about referees.
Guardiola normally avoids giving an opinion on any matters of controversy, but the 41-year-old was unable to bite his tongue in his press conference on the eve of Barca’s trip to Racing Santander in La Liga on Sunday.
“Mourinho and I resemble one another in that we both want to win, but I do not get the impression that we are similar. If that is the case then I must have done something wrong,” an irritated Guardiola said.
“I have never desired to put myself on a par with him. Certain images are worth more than a thousand words.
“My objective is not to sully the reputation of my team. There are thousands of press conferences. We both want to win but we are different.”
Barcelona’s relationship with the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and the country’s head of referees has become somewhat strained in the last week following defender Gerard Pique’s controversial sending-off in last Saturday’s 3-1 win against Sporting Gijon.
It was in relation to the fall-out from that red card that Mourinho alluded to Guardiola and the Catalan club on Friday.
“The interesting thing is that there are people who are more intelligent than me who manage to sell a certain image of themselves when they are in fact just like me,” said the Portuguese, whose side are ten points clear of Barcelona at the top of the table.
“I thought that they didn’t talk about referees but that is what they are doing.”
Barcelona have fiercely defended Pique after the Spanish international defender accused the referee of making a “premeditated” decision to send him off against Sporting.
“Lets hope that between now and the end of the season we have no more reasons to feel like we do now,” said Barcelona spokesman Toni Freixa.
“It is a difficult job (refereeing) and we understand that this year we are not having any luck (with decisions).”
Mourinho and Guardiola are both targets of English Premier League club Chelsea, who are on the lookout for a new manager following the sacking last week of one-time Mourinho protege Andre Villas-Boas.
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