Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has spoken out against recent criticism concerning the club’s Castilla team. The Portuguese boss had come under scrutiny recently because of supposedly blocking aspiring players from the B team from playing in the first team. However, Mourinho has responded to these statements by blaming the club’s youth system and Castilla head coach Alberto Toril.
The Spanish soccer press had been stirring up accusations all last week accusing Mourinho of buying his way out of trouble and refusing to allow youth players their chance. In a heated press conference however, Mourinho moved the blame and instead proved that he does give youngsters a fair chance but that the process is difficult.
“We play a different system to the Castilla,” Mourinho stated. “There are Castilla players who adopt positions that do not exist in the first team. Our wide players play further forwards and in Castilla they play a 4-4-2 system. There is limited common ground and as a result the kids are the ones who lose out”.
The topic arose due to the Copa del Rey tie against Alcoyano in midweek; a game in which Mourinho tested out a number of players to have graduated from the Castilla. Nacho, Alex (brothers), Alvaro Morata, Jose Callejon and Antonio Adan all started against Alcoyano with Jose Rodriguez and Jesus Fernandes beginning on the bench in the 4-1 win. Rodriguez replaced Alex in the second half and scored in the victory, despite being only 17 years old.
Despite Mourinho’s trials, he only awarded Alex and Nacho slots on the bench for the weekend win over Real Zaragoza. Ironically, Mourinho came under increased criticism post-game following goals from new signings Luka Modric and Michael Essien. Of course, by bringing in experienced heads from the Premier League, Madrid stand a greater chance of success but Mourinho attributed this to Toril’s failure with the Castilla.
Toril has shrugged off this criticism from Mourinho, claiming that his side is performing well. Currently 12th in the Segunda Division following promotion last season, the team have adjusted nicely to life in the second tier of Spanish football. However, Mourinho has argued that success on the pitch should not compromise the career of a fledgling footballer, with Toril to blame for the lack of minutes Jose Rodriguez has played.
With a number of players in the ranks bordering on 22, 23, 24 years old Mourinho blasted Toril for fielding a side unlikely to develop further and push for a starting place in the first team. Toril replied by claiming his side was not too old.
“Toril knows everything that I have spoken to the press about,” Mourinho continued. “He knows that I will never play Nacho at centre-back but he has his own ideas. It is in his hands as to whether it is more important to finish higher up in the table rather than further a player’s development”.
Instead the culture at Madrid has been to flash the chequebook as readily as Cristiano Ronaldo prepares to shoot. Raphael Varane is a recent example of Madrid buying players without a thought for their academy. It raises significant questions about the purpose of Madrid’s Castilla side – is it really a breeding ground or just another pillar beneath the empire of Mourinho’s Madrid?
One thing is certain – Castilla will, based on ability or not, gradually improve annual performances due to the financial situation in Spain. Real Oviedo have suffered and imminently more will follow, leaving Castilla as an insignificant side amidst a dwindling Segunda division.
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