By Pete Jenson and Graham Clutton
Mourinho is expected to leave Madrid at the end of the season and Benítez, whose interim contract at Chelsea only lasts until the summer, has been touted as a successor.
Benítez added further intrigue to the situation this week by telling a Spanish radio station: “I know things, but I am not going to say anything about Real Madrid because I don’t think I should.”
That prompted a withering response from Mourinho, who said he hoped Benítez was paying enough attention to his current job.
Mourinho said: “As a Chelsea fan all I can say is that I hope he wasn’t thinking about Real Madrid during the Corinthians game.”
Benítez oversaw Chelsea’s defeat to the Brazilian side in the World Club Cup final last Sunday, failing to match his achievement in the same competition when he took over Mourinho’s Inter team.
Asked about drawing Manchester United in the next round of the Champions League Mourinho said it was too far away to comment on the tie.
But he did lament his team’s form. They are third in La Liga, 13 points behind leaders Barcelona, and have already dropped more points this season than in the whole of last.
He said: “We have to improve in all aspects of the play. We are not happy with our numbers from these first months of the season. I did not realise that tomorrow I reach 400 games managing in the top flight until I was told but I know that in that time I have lost fewer than 40 games.
“I have never been found wanting in terms of motivation. The players have to find that motivation and improve.”
He all but ruled out winter transfer window signings ahead of the game against United in February. He said: “I think the winter market is not something that works for Madrid. I don’t think anyone will be coming in or going out.
“I don’t believe Kaka will go either,” added the Portuguese. “If he stays it’s good for the team.”
Kaka joined Real from AC Milan for a fee of around €67million (£55million) in 2009 but has failed to reproduce the form that won him the World Player of the Year award in 2007 and has fallen behind German Mesut Özil and recent signing Croatian Luka Modric in the pecking order.
Mourinho said of the fixture pile-up that could mean his side face Barcelona in the league and the Spanish Cup between the two legs against Sir Alex Ferguson’s team: “We cannot afford to pick competitions. We have to take every game seriously.”
Michael Laudrup says Manchester United’s vulnerability in defence could be the decisive factor when they face Real Madrid.
Laudrup, whose Swansea team face United on Saturday, said: “When you have the ball you have to dare to play because they have conceded a lot of goals.
“They have let in a few less than in some of their recent games, but there were three goals at Reading, three here and two there.
“They have also even conceded a few at home. It is a team with a lot of quality, especially in midfield and going forward, but one that concedes a lot of goals. It certainly gives you encouragement. I would say that Real Madrid start as slight favourites.”