Jose Mourinho felt “inferior” to Barcelona while he was in charge of Real Madrid, according to Camp Nou defender Gerard Pique.
Mourinho left the Santiago Bernabeu this summer to take over for a second time at Chelsea following three seasons in La Liga.
The Portuguese’s time in Spain was littered with controversies connected to Real Madrid’s rivalry with Barcelona – his, and his players’, conduct during more than one el Clasico was criticised.
Pique felt the arguments and accusations were down to the fact that Barcelona had the upper hand over los Blancos for most of Mourinho’s time there.
The former Manchester United man went on to claim that the Catalans’ dominance sparked a feeling of inferiority in Mourinho.
Pique bemoaned the influence of Mourinho on the image of football in Spain and claimed that the consistent trickle of controversial actions and comments were bad for the game in Spain, and so the national team.
“It got to the point where I think we were quite superior to Real Madrid and we were winning lots of trophies,” he is quoted as saying by the Daily Star.
“Mourinho tried to take the game off the field of play and I think he acted like that because he felt inferior to Barcelona.
“Everything else creates a bad vibe and generates things which aren’t good for the national team or for this sport.”
Spain’s players appear to have worked out their problems because they were sensational in defeating Uruguay 2-1 in the Confederations Cup on Sunday night.
Pique revealed that the players from Barcelona and Real Madrid in the national team got to a point when the animosity had gone too far and they agreed to tone things down.
He also pointed out that Mourinho did not instigate the reconciliation and it was solely the players’ decision.
“Things got to the point where they crossed the line. It made for a tense atmosphere,” he added.
“There was a time when there was big tension between the Barcelona and Real Madrid players.
“That’s where everyone’s maturity came in to play to say, ‘That’s enough’.
“It wasn’t Mourinho who did it. It was some of the players who realised it was getting out of hand.”