Real Madrid's coach Jose Mourinho benched captain Iker Casillas.

London – Jose Mourinho on Sunday returned to Portugal for Christmas, insisting he has no regrets about dropping Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas for Saturday’s 3-2 defeat by Malaga.

Real, who face Manchester United in the Champions League last 16, are third in La Liga, 16 points adrift of leaders Barcelona after 17 games. There were suggestions Mourinho could be fired, but Real’s reluctance to pay huge compensation means that is unlikely, and he was calm as he headed home to spend time with his family.

“I have a clear conscience about dropping Iker Casillas,” he said. “I try to do the best for the team in each match. It’s good to lose to understand what others go through. Neither before, during or after the game have I thought about resigning. I don’t fear for my position. This is football.

“At the moment, for me and my coaching staff, (Antonio) Adan is better than Iker.”

Casillas on Sunday backed his coach, saying: “Real Madrid is more important than me or any player. I respect Jose Mourinho’s decision and I will carry on training hard to win back my place. Mourinho hasn’t given an explanation but he doesn’t when you play either.” – Daily Mail