The fall-out from last week’s Clasico battle has centred almost entirely around Jose Mourinho and his influence on the current Real Madrid side. Although the club remain five points clear in La Liga and could well win the title the fact that they remain so far behind their eternal enemies Barcelona in terms of quality is proving too galling for many to accept.
For possibly the first time in his career Mourinho maybe made to vacate his position before world domination is obtained. It is a peculiar situation given all that he has achieved during his tenure in Madrid but the fact remains that the club are still languishing behind their most bitter rivals. He has seen off Jorge Valdano, he has broken club records left, right and centre and could even win La Liga this season, but it is still not enough.
During the pre-match build up last week former Madrid player Michel Salgado was debating his former club’s plan for the match with the Skysports panel. He stated that this club is not somewhere where win at all costs counts; the fans and board demands a certain style is adhered to and currently Mourinho is falling short of this when they play Barca. However, at half-time, with Madrid one nil up he changed his stance and praised the players, and the manager. Clearly the fact that I don’t reside in Madrid limits my ability to have my feelings on the pulse of supporters’ thoughts but I would imagine this echoes their thinking too; they play great football against all other sides but then become incredibly negative when playing Barca.
However, only last season Mourinho took his Real side to the Camp Nou with an attacking edge and plans in place to beat Barca. This couldn’t have turned out any worse as they were humiliated five nil. They were simply outclassed in every aspect and were taught a lesson in some senses. It was during that embarrassment that he decided he could not compete with them on an attack minded front. The majority of the Barca players have played together for years and have an incredible understanding that simply cannot be bought. The likes of Busquets, Iniesta, Messi, Pedro and Xavi know each others game inside out which makes them incredibly difficult to play against.
Rumours have also surfaced of a training ground altercation between Casillas, Mourinho and Ramos which could be the beginning of the end for the Portuguese manager. Those two players are stalwarts of the club and will not take kindly to disagreements with their manager. Over the course of history players have always been more powerful than the coaches at this club and although it has changed slightly I cannot see it being any different this time.
Tomorrow night’s game will be a fascinating watch, although one already feels like it is a forgone conclusion; Barca should win the game and advance to the next round. Mourinho left out several of his more defensive players at the weekend and could do again tomorrow night. If he goes there and attempts to contain Barca he will be criticised and if he goes there and attacks they will be ripped apart; he simply cannot win. What seems clear is that things are not well in Madrid and although they still remain top of the league the main goal still appears to be toppling Barca, with or without the Special one.