MANCHESTER: Jose Mourinho has reopened his feud with former Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas on Friday after claiming he is behind a campaign to oust David de Gea from the national team.
The Manchester United stopper came in for renewed criticism last week following Spain’s 3-2 Nations League defeat to Croatia, which cost them a place in the semi-finals and led to Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga taking his place for the subsequent friendly win over Bosnia on Sunday.
But Mourinho hinted his former Real Madrid stopper Casillas, who has been linked with a possible return to international duty, is behind a media-driven campaign to drive the United player out of the Spain team.
“Why (is there) criticism in Spain? Do you know?” said Mourinho.
“I know. It is because there is somebody very powerful that is thinking about ‘jumping’ again but I think it’s very difficult to jump when you have the best goalkeeper in the world in front of you.”
De Gea was among a number of leading Spanish internationals whose displays in a disappointing World Cup campaign in Russia were widely criticised.
Mourinho and Casillas had a stormy relationship during the Portuguese manager’s three years in charge at Real and have taken verbal swipes at each other ever since.
Mourinho said that the veteran keeper, 37 and now at Porto, was using his extensive media contacts to pile pressure on De Gea rather than exert influence on Spain manager Luis Enrique.
“No, not on the manager,” said Mourinho. “I know him very well, the manager. But (on the media), yes.”