Mourinho praises Copa display
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho praised the professionalism of his players as they eased to a 2-0 win over Ponferradina in the first leg of their last-32 Copa Del Rey tie last night. Madrid had their 15-game winning run ended by arch-rivals Barcelona on Saturday night, with star man Cristiano Ronaldo attracting criticism in the aftermath following one of his less effective performances.
But the Portugal international was back on song last night, rounding things off with a goal after Jose Callejon's opener. "We gave a serious performance and took an important step forward in the tie despite playing the return leg at home," Mourinho told reporters. "All my men did their job.
"Ponferradina, looking to score, moved their lines forward and we used that to take a step forward and be more relaxed. I expected us to win 1-0 or 2-0 against a well-organised side that proved it knows how to play football. They were very motivated and showed spirit. We will show them the same affection and fair play [in the return leg] on Tuesday that they showed us."
Mourinho took advantage of facing a side from the Segunda Division B by fielding a number of fringe players, and also handed 18-year-old winger Jese Rodriguez his first-team debut - the 12th player from Madrid's youth ranks to be given a chance by Mourinho during his time at the club.
Jese came on as a 78th-minute substitute for Ronaldo, and told reporters: "Before coming out, Mourinho told me to be calm. I'm very happy for getting the chance to make my debut from the coach and Real Madrid. Few can say they made their first team debut when they were 18 years old. I arrived when I was 13 and I always dreamed about this. The whole trip has been exceptional and I got an adrenaline rush when I was told I was coming on."