Casillas: Mourinho and Valdano united

MADRID - Brief news from La Liga ahead of this weekend's matches:

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho and director general Jorge Valdano have their differences on some issues but both want success for the club, according to captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

"Jorge has his way of behaving and the coach has his," Casillas, who was responding to reports of a rift between the pair, told reporters after Real knocked city rivals Atletico out of the King's Cup on Thursday to advance to the semi-finals.

"In a relationship there are always differences about some things but deep down what both want is for Real Madrid to be as successful as possible."

Former Argentina international Valdano said the reports about his relationship with Mourinho had been blown out of proportion and the club should focus on matters on the pitch.

"Everything's been exaggerated regarding my relationship with Mourinho," he said in a television interview. "We have to strive to calm the situation down and focus on football in order for the team to have prestige in every competition."

Real's Germany midfielder Sami Khedira was forced off in the 82nd minute of the Atletico game after hurting his right ankle and club medical staff confirmed he had suffered bruising, the club said on their website.

It was unclear whether he will be available for Sunday's match at home to Real Mallorca.

Leaders Barcelona, who have a four-point advantage over second-placed Real at the halfway stage of the season, will benefit from having their club record 28-match undefeated run ended by Real Betis, according to coach Pep Guardiola.

Second-division leaders Betis beat Barca 3-1 in the second leg of their King's Cup quarter-final on Wednesday, although the Catalans won the first leg 5-0 and went through to the semi-finals 6-3 on aggregate.

"After this run of matches without losing it seems like everything is plain sailing but it's all a big effort and this will help us to grow," Guardiola said at a charity event on Thursday. Barca host Racing Santander on Saturday.

Guardiola has yet to sign a contract extension beyond the end of this season, saying he needs more time to think over his future, but Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes is sure he will stay.

"I have no doubts the coach will continue," Valdes said at a separate charity event on Thursday.

Barca forward Jeffren has picked up another injury, this time to his left thigh, and will be out for up to five weeks, the club said on their website.

Jeffren, who turned 23 on Thursday and has been plagued with injuries this season, damaged a muscle in training.

Villarreal defender Joan Capdevila is excited about the next two seasons after signing an extension to his contract that will keep him at the club until June 2013.

"Villarreal's short-and long-term project is very ambitious and any player would want to be at this club," the Spain left-back told a news conference on Thursday. "My aim is to achieve something great over the next two years."

Villarreal are nine points behind Real Madrid in third and host promoted Real Sociedad on Sunday.


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