Mourinho reinforced his stance on the senior players when he was asked about his decision to omit Casillas — the popular Real Madrid and Spain captain — on a regular basis in his final season at the Bernabeu.
"I play the players I think are the best for the team," he said.
"Of course I want good relations with everybody, but the most important thing is having good relations with myself.
"I have to be honest with myself. If I think somebody deserves to play, he has to play. If someone has big stature, profile and career, I cannot give him a privilege.
"Dropping Casillas was a pure footballing decision. I decided for one player and not the other, and it’s up to the players to accept it or not, and the media and supporters to accept it or not.
"But, as a manager, all my decisions are based on meritocracy."