Jose Mourinho was under more pressure on Saturday when misfiring Real Madrid were held to a 0-0 draw at relegation-threatened CA Osasuna, a result which left the champions 15 points behind leaders Barcelona.
Madrid, devoid of any creativity, missed the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo, who had scored five of his side’s eight goals in the last two games, and their desperate state was highlighted when substitute Kaka was sent-off in the second half.
Real Madrid are on 37 points in third place, four behind Atletico Madrid.
“I liked my team’s attitude, Raul Albiol and Fabio Coentrao have come in and played well and the others have done a job. It’s not easy to create here, we did enough to score but we didn’t make many chances,” Mourinho said.
The Portuguese coach was questioned about captain Iker Casillas, who he recently controversially dropped, but refused to say if the goalkeeper would be in the team tomorrow against Valencia in the Spanish Cup.
“Casillas has done well in the last two games and we have been good defensively but it’s too early to say whether he’ll be playing against Valencia,” Mourinho said.
Ronaldo missed his first game after 60 consecutive league appearances with a one-match suspension while Sergio Ramos was also absent at the start of a five-game ban.
Meanwhile, Spanish international forward Roberto Soldado got the goals as Valencia beat Sevilla 2-0. Both goals came from corners, the first just after half-time when he was quickest to react to stab home from close range before heading the second home with two minutes remaining.
That makes it 11 goals in the league for Soldado and his side remain seventh on 30 points. For Sevilla it is just one victory in seven since they thrashed their city rivals Real Betis Balompie 5-1 and the pressure is on coach Michel Gonzalez whose side remain in the bottom half.
German winger Patrick Ebert scored twice and set up the third for Oscar to help Real Valladolid beat RCD Mallorca 3-1.
Ebert’s return to the side was particularly welcome for Valladolid after just over a month out through injury in which his side has failed to win a game.
Sergio Garcia hit a first-half goal to give RCD Espanyol a crucial 1-0 win over RC Celta de Vigo and move the Barcelona side out of the relegation zone for the first time this season.