MADRID - Jose Mourinho's future as Real Madrid coach looked virtually untenable on Sunday as press and players alike took aim at him especially over his dropping of iconic goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas.
The self-anointed 'Special One', winner of the Champions League twice with Porto and Inter Milan, had already been under pressure after a poor first half to the title race which had seen bitter rivals Barcelona take a firm grip on the championship.
His position was under even more scrutiny on Sunday after his dropping of Casillas, the first time the Spain captain had been dropped in 10 years, backfired spectacularly as they lost 3-2 to Malaga to fall an astonishing 16 points behind Barcelona and, almost worse for some, seven points adrift of city rivals Atletico.
While Mourinho was unapologetic and insisted after the defeat he was not going anywhere, the press, never on good terms with the Portuguese coach, bayed for blood.
"'Mou' is making a laughing stock of himself," opined Madrid sports daily Marca while displaying on its front page a photo of Casillas with his head bowed during the match.
"Another act of defiance by the coach, this time against the saint of saints of the club."
Another sports daily As, who like Marca slated Casillas's replacement Antonio Adan for Malaga's third goal, was even less forgiving.
"Mourinho has become an unsupportable problem," it blasted.
Another of the club's discontented stars, Sergio Ramos — like Casillas part of the Spain side that has collected two European Championships and the World Cup in the past four years — weighed in on Canal Plus Spain.
"We were all taken aback by the dropping of Casillas, I mean he is the captain," said the defender, who himself fell foul of Mourinho earlier in the season and was dropped and trained on his own."