Madrid: Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho refused to speak at a news conference ahead of Saturday's "Clasico" at home to La Liga leaders Barcelona, prompting a walkout by local journalists.
The often outspoken Real Madrid coach sat with a poker face and furrowed brows next to his assistant Aitor Karanka, who took all the questions during the Friday conference broadcast on live television and radio and lasting roughly 11 minutes.
In a bizarre spectacle, around 30 Spanish journalists who cover the club left the room in protest when a spokesman announced that Mourinho would not be speaking and it was left to representatives of the international media to quiz Karanka about what was happening.
"Every time the coach talks everything is blown out of proportion," Karanka said.
"He (Mourinho) doesn't want his words blown out of proportion and he doesn't want to be the one who raises the temperature ahead of the match," the former Real player added. "It's just one way that we have of working."
Mourinho has frequently clashed with the media during his coaching career and has angered journalists in Spain since his arrival at the end of last season by cutting back on their access to players and training.
Asked what he thought about the protest by the Spanish media, Karanka, who has stood in for Mourinho at news conferences on around 10 previous occasions, said: "I am not going to take that much notice.
"I also represent the institution of Real Madrid and it is not the first time I have sat here."
Barca can take a giant stride towards securing a third straight league title with a win in Saturday's eagerly anticipated game at the Bernabeu, the first of four meetings between the arch rivals in three competitions in 18 days.
Victory would stretch their advantage to 11 points with six games left and give them a confidence boost ahead of Wednesday's King's Cup final and the two-legged Champions League semi-final on April 27 and May 3.
Asked about Mourinho's conduct at a later news conference, Barca coach Pep Guardiola said everyone behaved in the way they believed was most beneficial for their team.
"Neither he nor I do anything that has not been done before by other people," added Guardiola, who was a Barca player when Mourinho was assistant coach there in the 1990s.
First Published: Saturday, April 16, 2011, 10:28