MADRID - Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has admitted that he was wrong to poke Barcelona's Tito Vilanova in the eye -- one year after their infamous clash.
"I obviously should not have done what I did, obviously not," the 49-year-old self-annointed "Special One" said in an interview this week with Fox Sports television during a US tour with his squad.
"But I am not an idiot who does something without a story behind it that led me to lose control a bit," the Portuguese added.
"I work a lot with my players on exactly that, on controlling emotions, on concentrating on playing and playing well. But there I failed and I am not looking for excuses. If I failed, I failed."
Mourinho was banned for two matches for jabbing his finger into the eye of Vilanova in the final moments of Real Madrid's Super Cup loss to Barcelona at the Nou Camp on August 17 last year.
As players from the arch-rival teams scrapped on the field, Mourinho's actions were caught on camera and the images have been replayed repeatedly in the media ever since.
Vilanova, who was Barcelona's assistant coach at the time of the incident, was also barred for one match because he responded by slapping Mourinho on the back of the head.
Vilanova took over as coach this year after Pep Guardiola retired at the end of the season following four years at the helm.
Mourinho, who gave the interview on Monday, said relations with Vilavova had been repaired since.
"As Tito was saying a few weeks ago, the image will remain forever, the negative image is more important than any words," he added.
"Between me and him there are no problems, we have greeted each other since when we have met in games since then and that's that. Story over. And we will try to ensure nothing similar happens."
Mourinho maintained again that Barcelona superstar Leo Messi, La Liga's top scorer with 50 goals last season, should not have won the Ballon d'Or.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored 46 in the league, deserved to win more than Messi because he had propelled Real Madrid to the top of La Liga while Barcelona only won the domestic cup, Mourinho argued.
"Otherwise, football loses the essence of the group, and for that reason I don't think he (Messi) deserves to win."
He conceded, however, that Messi was a great player.
"I am not capable of saying that Messi is not a very great player," Mourinho said. "What I am saying is that for me they are the two best players at the moment."
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