Real Madrid coach Pellegrini defends Cup exit

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Real Madrid's coach Manuel Pellegrini reacts during their King's Cup soccer match against Alcorcon at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid November 10, 2009.

MADRID, Nov. 10 -- Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini defended his tactics after watching his side knocked out of the Kings Cup by a side that plays two categories below them.

Real Madrid defeated Segunda B outfit Alcorcon 1-0 in the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday night, but crashed out of the competition 4-1 on aggregate after losing 4-0 two weeks ago.

The game ended with handkerchiefs waved in protest at the players and the coach, who was criticized for replacing midfielderLassana Diarra with Marcelo with 20 minutes still to go.

"The public were angry when Lass went off and I understand that because he is a player who gives everything. However he had missed a week because of a family problem and this was his fourth game in12 days. I didn't want to risk him suffering a muscle problem, it was dangerous for him to continue and I wanted to look after him," said Pellegrini.

"If I had been selfish, I would have avoided the criticism, but I was thinking more about the team than myself," he said.

Pellegrini's job is again in danger after this defeat, but he insisted he felt he at least had the support of the players.

"The players are behind me, but it's not easy to overturn a 4-0defeat, because you are always playing against the score, against the rivals and against your own nerves," he said, preferring to focus on other competitions.

"We are a point off Barcelona in the League and leaders in our group in the Champions League. This is going to end well," he insisted.