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Mourinho eyes morale-boosting win

Real Madrid are hoping for a boost from Tuesday's Copa del Rey second leg against third-tier Alcoyano at the Bernabeu as manager Jose Mourinho looks to steady the ship.

• Blog: Adios to La Liga?

Mourinho faced the press at Madrid's Valdebebas training facility on Monday morning with his team now 11 points behind rivals Barcelona in the Primera Division title race.

He said Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Real Betis had not affected his relationship with Real president Florentino Perez or any of his players.

"I feel good, I am in perfect health and working as I have done for many years," Mourinho explained. "I do not understand the question about my relationship with the club - it is the same as ever.

"My relationship with the players is the same as always. It naturally depends on results, the satisfaction and happiness they bring. When you win, naturally things are better than when you lose. But everything is normal."

Regular first-teamers including Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso, Pepe and Kaka have been given three days off after a recent demanding schedule.

That means youngsters such as Alvaro Morata, Denis Cheryshev, Jose Rodriguez and Nacho Fernandez will start against Segunda B side Alcoyano alongside star man Cristiano Ronaldo and first-team squad players Antonio Adan, Raul Albiol, Raphael Varane and Jose Callejon, with Madrid heavy favourites to progress having won the away leg 3-0 earlier this month.

Mourinho said he expected the team picked on Tuesday to put on a decent show for the Bernabeu spectators and qualify for the last 16 in style.

"I would prefer to talk about the game tomorrow than Saturday's game," he said. "I spoke about that in the press conference in Sevilla.

"This should be about tomorrow's game. We do not want to lose 1-0 or draw 1-1 and go through - we are obliged to play a good game and to win. Every cent that the fans pay we need to make an effort for.

"We must be up to the expectations and demands of our fans. Those in the squad, and the four kids who will play, will be up to the task. The fans should be demanding of them, but also patient with them. If we do not qualify it would a catastrophe, but I think we will go through and the crowd will enjoy themselves."

The last blancos coach to drop 13 Primera Division points so quickly - Bernd Schuster four seasons ago - was sacked.

While nobody around Madrid considers that a possibility for Mourinho at the moment, rumours about the coach's future continue to swirl.

But Mourinho said next summer was the time to make judgements about the season and decisions about the future.

"I am simply an employee of the club, like everyone else," he said. "I do my best. At the end of the season, we can make calm judgements.

"It is possible that at the end of the season the club are not happy with my work, and see things they would like to improve. I am here giving my all as always.

"It is worth waiting to make positive or negative judgements. The most important thing for me is that I continue to have an unsurpassable personal relationship with the president, just as I had with [Roman] Abramovich [at Chelsea]and [Massimo] Moratti [at Inter]. At the end of the season, we can make judgements."


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