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The Toe Poke

Mourinho 'decided' on changes

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho says he is not worried about his side's defensive absentees ahead of Saturday's La Liga clash with Celta Vigo as he already knows what his back four will be for the game.

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The FIFA virus has struck the Madrid camp with a vengeance this week, with the club's three senior full-backs Marcelo, Alvaro Arbeloa and Fabio Coentrao all suffering injuries which rule them out of Real's coming matches.

Ahead of training at Madrid's Valdebebas facility on Friday afternoon, the Portuguese coach told reporters that within moments of the last international game finishing on Tuesday he knew how he would solve the problem, hinting some squad members would be asked to play out of position.

"I always try and see solutions for problems, but it is not easy to accept this situation," Mourinho said. "At the last game before the break (the Clasico draw in Barcelona) all our players were at their peak, without problems, in perfect condition. Then you lose one, then another... We have people who, without being full-backs, will have to adapt and not cry and talk about the problem. I have thought about Nacho and others. When the international games were over, within a few minutes I already knew in my head who would play. I decided quickly."

The international break also saw a long drawn-out saga in the Spanish media, which began when Pepe accused Andres Iniesta of diving during their Clasico meeting and Barca coach Tito Vilanova responded by saying it would be possible to make a video of the Madrid defender's misdeeds on the pitch.

Both players then had further says last week, while in recent days the Madrid papers have pounced upon a claim that Barca had deliberately made such a video during the four heated Clasicos of April 2011, something which the Catalan club quickly denied. Mourinho did nothing to help cool the situation by suggesting that Barca may have tried to tempt his player to join them in the past.

"I do not know anything about a video of Pepe," he said. "What I do know is that while Pepe had not yet renewed his contract at Madrid, two important clubs pressurised his agent and him, in an indirect way. I do not know if one of those big clubs was the one which made a video of Pepe."

Mourinho was also asked to comment on another long-running media story, the supposed interest of his club in signing Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao. The ex-Porto boss said he had heard very good things about Falcao, but only his current coaches, Jose Pekerman of Colombia and Atletico's Diego Simeone, had the right to judge the player.

"The person who should talk about him is Simeone," said Mourinho. "I am very happy that people are talking about him. They say he is a fantastic person. But his coaches are Pekerman and Simeone and I do not say anything."


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