Oct 5, 2010

Harry Potter of Bernabéu

By Melanie Hughes

Mourinho suggested the help of Harry Potter was needed at the Bernabéu and it seems that Los Blancos got it after racking up their highest goal tally of the season so far against Deportivo. Six goals with only one response from the visitors has surely bought Mourinho more time at the Bernabéu, if his position was ever in doubt.

Interestingly enough the win comes after he planted a siege mentality into the team, which he is famed for. This tactic worked at both Chelsea and Inter Milan and now it seems that he has started getting the wheels in motion in Madrid.

He came out in fury that Sporting Gijón fielded a weakened side against Barcelona in a midweek La Liga fixture. Mourinho lost his cool in the press conference and suggested that teams make life easy for Barcelona. In fairness to Gijón, it was midweek they’d had to fight to hold on to a draw against Bilbao the weekend before and were facing Valencia next, it was a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Mourinho knows this, and Mourinho’s ‘outburst’ in the press conference was no accident; everything Mourinho does is for show, for a purpose, and this purpose was to motivate his players in the most subtle way; by showing faux weakness.

Before Sunday’s match, Mourinho’s Real had only scored more than one goal on three occasions this season; against Ajax, Real Sociedad and Espanyol. However, their first goal against Ajax was an own goal so omit the necessary plaudits there.

Madrid haven’t failed to score at home this season but the media and the fans seemed to be getting on Mourinho’s back after being held to goalless draws away at Levante and Mallorca. Let’s not forget that Mallorca recently held Madrid’s rivals, Barcelona, at the Nou Camp and despite their financial struggles are making a superb start to the season; they are no mugs.

Yet, with a Madrid strike force of Ronaldo, Higuaín, Di Maria, and Mesut Özil it is surprising how few goals Madrid have scored and Mourinho seems to be baring the brunt of all the criticism, rather than the players. It seems that Mourinho is being taunted for playing the ‘Mourinho way’ yet, he is not setting his team out to grind out one-nil wins thus making the goal drought all the more puzzling.

What has changed? Or is it that Deportivo are just an abysmally poor side who, frankly, made it easy for Madrid’s Galactico’s to mop up the soggy Bernabéu pitch with them.

Mourinho has now got the team in the mindset that he wants them and the most notable change was the subdued nature of Cristiano Ronaldo. In no way is that meant to sound like a negative comment, by subdued I simply mean that he was less frantic and rash in front of goal; he had his cool, collected head back on. Instead of reaching the edge of the box and lashing out a wayward shot on goal, he was linking up brilliantly with Higuaín and Özil who really showed their class to set up each other and Di Maria respectively. The Madrid winger opened and closed the scoring and was ultimately the most effective he’s been under Jose Mourinho, without a doubt.

Perhaps the international break has come at a bad time for Los Merengues and their Harry Potter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This journalist, whoever she is is extremely insighful. Plus I heard she's hot too.