No backing down: Jose Mourinho labels Barcelona a 'small team'
Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has continued his verbal assault on Barcelona, labelling the European champions "a small team" after last night's Supercopa second leg defeat at the Nou Camp.
Another fantastic footballing spectacle between arguably the best two sides in Europe was again overshadowed by the antics of Mourinho, who thrust a finger in the eye of Barca assistant Tito Vilanova in a melee in the closing stages.
Mourinho, who will this season serve a touchline ban in Champions League fixtures after comments made about Barca last season, could now face further action yet instead chose to question the Catalans' sporting morals post-game.
The Portuguese was particularly unhappy that the ball-boys appeared to disappear after half-time with the home side 2-1 up on the night and 4-3 ahead on aggregate.
He said: "Real Madrid gave a spectacular performance from the first to the last minute.
"We came here to play. What I'm about to say is not a criticism, I'm just stating a fact: there were no ball-boys in the second half, which is something typical of small teams when experiencing difficulties.
"I'm not going to say we're happy because we didn't win the Spanish Super Cup, that would be hypocritical of me.
"But we intended to play like men and not fall on the ground at the slightest touch."
The sub-plot came at the end of a wonderful game which saw Barca twice take the lead through Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema replying.
But, with extra-time looming, Barca won it when Messi volleyed home Adriano's right-wing cross.
Madrid's frustration then spilled over with Marcelo sent-off for a crude tackle on debutant Cesc Fabregas, on from the bench, which sparked a bust-up which saw Mourinho's clash with Vilanova and red cards for substituted players David Villa and Mesut Ozil.
Barca central defender Gerard Pique was clear in his opinion on where the blame lay.
"I do not talk about the brawl. But it's a shame, it is not the first time and it's always the same," said the Spain international.
"Someone has to take action on the matter. Mourinho is destroying Spanish football. There is talk about the Catalans, but the problem is with Madrid.
"I think it's going too far. It cannot always end well. In the end this will end very badly."
Mourinho's opposite number Pep Guardiola did not wade into the issue but had a word of caution for those involved in the tense atmosphere on the pitch.
"The images speak for themselves," he said.
"We must be careful, because one day we will cause harm, not on the field but off, and we're all a little responsible for this. "
Despite the controversy, Mourinho feels his team are getting closer to Barca, who pipped Madrid to the Primera Division title last season and knocked them out of the Champions League at the last-four stage.
He added: "We feel like we played two very good games in their entirety. This team is better than it was last year.
"The longer you work with people, the better the conditions are to have a better year.
"We played nine games this pre-season and proved to be better than we were last year in the last two.
"I'm happy with the progress my men have made."