Referee Carlos Clos Gómez, who gained a certain fame when Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola accused him of lying in a match report, did a mediocre job. There is little new in that. Gómez's mistakes, and those of other referees, are part of the Liga panorama, where the incompetence of officials is common. On Sunday evening, after Real Madrid's 1-0 victory against Sevilla, Gómez gave José Mourinho an excuse to launch into a discourse at the post match press conference that, among other things, deflected attention away from his side's miserable performance.
"The match did not exist," said Mourinho before insinuating that there is some dark conspiracy in La Liga whereby referees are manipulated to favor Barcelona and target Real. On this last point, Mourinho made a great effort to ensure that Jorge Valdano, Real's director general, took note of his gripe that the bureaucratic apparatus of the club prefers to sit on its hands rather than launch an institutional war.
"I'm a little tired that they always want me to attack the referee and defend my team"
"If people don't want to defend the team against refereeing errors but prefer to hide behind a coach who stands up, and a team that stands up as we do, perfect."
Valdano had previously been in front of the television cameras. "The game was too much for the referee," the former Real coach said. "But at Real Madrid we do not talk about referees." Valdano was merely toeing the party line of Real president Florentino Pérez, who has said, as a matter of tradition, that the club should avoid painting itself as a victim. Pérez's magisterial approach stands in stark contrast with his Sevilla counterpart José María del Nido, who is rarely lost for words: "I have never seen so many conspiracies to pressurize a referee."
Mourinho entered the press room at the Bernabéu clutching a piece of letterheaded paper. He branded it with something approaching apoplexy: "Which game do you want me to comment on? They've just given me a list of 13 errors by the referee. I'm a little tired that they always want me to attack the referee and defend my team against these errors. And my team deserves to be defended. If I read this list of errors, the story will be the same as always: a suspension for Mourinho and all the rest of it."
Mourinho seemed to be calling upon Valdano to use the cushion of his institutional position to take issue with referees. "We have a club, a structure, a flow chart..." said the Portuguese in a press conference that resembled a soliloquy. "Because I have a team from another world with character from another world. Today, with some important players missing, with everything that happened, we achieved something that seemed impossible, winning three points. But don't ask me about the game because it didn't exist. I would prefer to ask for a meeting with the president. I want to speak up for Madrid and my team, but if I take this list and read it, I won't be on the bench for the next game and I won't be able to do my job."
He went on to insinuate that there is a conspiracy against Real: "Today they created the perfect conditions to increase the distance of two points between us and Barça," Mourinho said. "This great opportunity began in Zaragoza, where they left us without two players, [the suspended] Xabi [Alonso] and Marcelo, for practically nothing. What happened tonight must be a great frustration for those who want us to be four or five points behind."
Real's players continued the theme as they emerged from the dressing room. "The referee wasn't up to the task," Iker Casillas opined. "I don't like to talk about referees," continued Álvaro Arbeloa, "but he wanted to be in the spotlight. Sometimes they come to be heroes. It seems that, if they give out a lot of cards here, they have more personality; that if they send off a Real player they are better referees."