Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has questioned the motives of some sections of the Spanish media and accused them of hypocrisy over Jose Mourinho’s decision to drop Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas in recent matches.
Mourinho’s decision to drop Casillas for Madrid’s 3-2 defeat against Malaga before Christmas as well as for their recent win against Real Sociedad was met with a barrage of criticism from the Madrid-based press.
However Pique, whose Barcelona team sit 18 points clear of Mourinho’s faltering side in La Liga following their 3-1 win over Malaga on Saturday, has hit out at the Spanish media, who he says were willing to turn a blind eye to former Chelsea manager's previous indiscretions while he was winning games.
"It makes me laugh because I remember that when Madrid won, Mourinho was allowed do anything," Pique said.
"He came here and poked Tito in the eye. How many games was he banned for? Zero. Now that Mourinho is taking on Iker, that he locked up a journalist [to yell at him], there is criticism. Mourinho has always been like this, ever since he arrived. He was allowed do anything."
The former Manchester United defender also included Catalan-based newspapers in his criticism, saying there should be no club-based agenda when it comes to reporting the news.
"I do not think the press should act like this," he said. "I am just saying this for Barcelona, but also for Madrid. Barca do not do everything well. But if you look at the front pages of Mundo Deportivo and Sport, it seems like the club does everything well. I say the same for both sides, for Madrid and for Barcelona."
Turning his attention to matters on the pitch, Pique refused to be drawn on questions over whether the current Barcelona team under Tito Vilanova is better than the side assembled by Pep Guardiola, who stepped down at the Nou Camp last summer.
There will be opinions for every taste," he said. "I think we are playing really well. We have been at our most comfortable in these last games. But what counts is trying to win the three trophies (La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League). That is what we did with Pep (in 2008-09) and we will try to do it with Tito."
Pique did however suggest that Barcelona are now more capable of taking a different approach to games if their usual passing game fails to fire.
"We can play in various ways," he said. "Tito has gone with more midfielders in the last games. The first year we won the treble we had a settled team, but I feel this year the team has more options. This year we have a very competitive squad."