'Mourinho got away with murder until he started losing' – Pique

Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique believes Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho’s behaviour was excused by the public and press when his side were successful.

The Spanish champions sit in third place in La Liga, 18 points behind Tito Vilanova’s men, and the Blaugrana defender thinks that prior to their current struggles, the Portuguese was given far too much leeway.

“I remember when Madrid were winning, and Mourinho got away with murder,” the 25-year-old was quoted as saying by AS.

“He even came here and poked Tito in the eye. How many games was he banned for that? None.

“Now Mourinho has picked on [Iker] Casillas, threatened a journalist, and people are criticising him. Mourinho has always been like this, ever since he arrived. And he got away with everything.”

Despite their bad league standing, Pique believes los Blancos are still in with a chance of regaining their Liga crown.

“I will still consider Madrid title rivals until it becomes mathematically impossible for them to win the league, there’s too much history there and they are too great a side to rule out,” he continued.

“Madrid have something in them that when they start to believe in themselves they can launch comebacks like you’d never believe.”

In order to help stave off a Madrid revival, Pique warned his team not to become complacent in the final months of the season.

“We are used to receiving praise, we know how to deal with it. Pep told us: ‘Praise can cause you more harm than good’, and he’s right. We should be pleased with ourselves but we need to keep on going.”

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