BARCELONA, Spain - Coach Jose Mourinho showed no regret for defensive tactics after Real Madrid was knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Barcelona on Wednesday despite a 2-2 draw at the Camp Nou in the second leg.
Madrid came back from a 2-0 first-half deficit, but a poor performance in the 2-1 opening-leg defeat was enough to see the Catalans through.
Mourinho's future has come under scrutiny after he was jeered by his fans last week when reports emerged of strife within the squad over the first-leg gameplan.
Asked if he had erred with his opening-leg strategy, the Portuguese coach responded simply with "no."
"We played a good game, the players played a very good game," Mourinho said on Wednesday. "We came here looking to win. We knew we were behind, we were motivated, wanted to win."
Mourinho and his players again criticized the refereeing, with Madrid losing Sergio Ramos to a late red card. Both teams were lucky not to have more players booked in the physical game with Madrid midfielder Lassana Diarra also escaping a first-half red card.
"In the locker room I heard (some players) say it was impossible to win," Mourinho said, "I heard that in my dressing room but I didn't say that."
Madrid captain Iker Casillas, whose yellow card for time wasting before Daniel Alves' goal seemed to keep Diarra from getting booked, was highly critical of the referees.
"(Referee) now you can go party with Barca," Casillas was quoted as saying by Spanish press.
"We were much better than Barcelona, we had a lot of opportunities but the referee lost it in the little details," Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa said. "We would have preferred if the cards had been more evenly distributed."
Both teams had penalty appeals refused, with eight Madrid players booked to Barcelona's one in a frantic, fast-paced match embellished by the Camp Nou stadium's cries against Madrid's players, especially Pepe after the Portugal defender stamped Lionel Messi's hand in the opening leg.
"The referee made mistakes in all senses, but he did the best he could," Barcelona defender Gerard Pique said. "Diarra's play was a clear sending-off."
Another rugged match went to script — Madrid's lone win in its past 14 matches against Barcelona was last year's cup final, which it cannot defend now.
But Madrid holds a five-point lead over Barcelona in the league, with Mourinho demonstrating he may have found the necessary recipe to stay ahead of Barcelona in the second half of the season.
"Today we managed to ditch our anxiety problems about being able to beat Barcelona," Arbeloa said.