Mourinho spars with Spanish sports press

MADRID, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Jose Mourinho turned in a typically theatrical performance at his weekly news conference on Saturday in an apparent bid to ease tensions that have boiled up between the flamboyant Real Madrid coach and Spanish media.

Mourinho frequently clashed with Italian reporters during his previous job at Inter Milan and has only been in the Spanish capital for a few months but already has local journalists accusing him of denying them enough access to players and training sessions.

The confident Portuguese flounced out of a news conference before last week's Champions League match in Auxerre and was prepared for questions about his treatment of the media at his latest appearance at the Bernabeu stadium on Saturday.

Mourinho, who was the darling of British reporters during his time at Chelsea, flourished a piece of paper on which was written the exact number of minutes he and the players spent giving media briefings last month and said the press was privileged to have the access they did to the club.

"I thought it would be the first question but it was the fourth. Do you have a pen? Are you ready?" a smiling Mourinho asked as he brandished the paper.

There had been 600 minutes, or 10 hours, of press access in September, including 13 news conferences of his, he added.

"This is fantastic. You must tell me which other teams in the world do this.

"I want to carry on being fantastic. It's a long way from my thoughts shutting training and not doing press conferences.

"You are privileged. Real Madrid with the press is unique, a fantastic club."


Mourinho denied he purposefully drew the attention of the press towards himself to ease pressure on his players, saying the opposite was true.

"There are people who talk about me to fill time on television or space in the newspapers," he said. "It's not me that looks for it."

Mourinho, who Real have given the task of wresting the La Liga title from Barcelona and winning a 10th European Cup for a recently success-starved club, has a history of falling out with representatives of the sports media.

In February, he agreed to pay a 13,000-euro fine to settle a disciplinary case over an altercation with an Italian journalist.

Mourinho was charged with insulting the journalist and "gripping his forearms". He later said he snapped because the journalist had been standing by the team bus for months despite his protests.