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Fantasy Preview: Week 13

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By ESPN Staff
Sep 19, 2011

Mourinho unhappy with Khedira

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho was happy to attach a large portion of the blame for his side's first defeat of the season to midfielder Sami Khedira.

Khedira was sent off before half-time against Levante in Valencia, and Mourinho's men were unable to overcome their numerical disadvantage as Arouna Kone's 68th-minute strike sealed the game in the hosts' favour.

On the red card, which came courtesy of a second booking for a shove on Sergio Ballesteros during a multi-player fracas, Mourinho told the club's official website: "My player knows about these situations and fell for the trap.

"That's why I make him partly responsible for the defeat and I don't have a problem doing so. It is also our fault, mine and my players'.

"An important part of the meeting I had with my players today covered similar situations to those of Khedira's red card. I didn't think one of my players could fall for such a trap. You prepare for games as best as you can and this is the response you get.

"Players have to be sufficiently intelligent to know how to react and to avoid these situations. You also have to feel it in your gut if the ref will allow it.''

The result left Madrid three points behind pacesetters Valencia and one behind arch rivals Barcelona, who recorded an 8-0 win over Osasuna on Saturday.

"All points are important and it's better to lose one game than to draw two,'' said Mourinho. "Losing is tougher psychologically than drawing a match, but drawing two is worse than losing one.

"We'll be in a better position if we exchange this defeat with a reduced number of draws. Every game and every point at stake is important.''

With Cristiano Ronaldo fit only for a place on the bench after needing stitches to an ankle injury sustained during Wednesday's Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb, Mourinho was particularly pleased with the performance of Kaka until the red card.

"Kaka was one of our best men when we had a full line-up,'' Mourinho said. "He gave a fantastic performance. I'm very satisfied because he created room and covered a lot of ground.''

On their opponents' performance, Mourinho added: "I don't want to detract merit from Levante, who always do very well when they are allowed to play their game at their stadium.

"I congratulate them for being clever. They know how to waste time and how to not give the ball back. They know this because it's also part of football. Our players don't feel comfortable in this sort of habitat and Levante know it.''

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