El Clásico: Why Barca Were Wrong To Write Off Madrid's Mourinho

About a month ago I wrongly suggested that the wheels were falling off Mourinho's bus in the Spanish capital, but Madrid's win over Barca shows that you can never write off The Special One.
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About a month ago I wrongly suggested that the wheels were falling off Mourinho's bus in the Spanish capital, but Madrid's win over Barca shows that you can never write off The Special One.

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About a month ago I wrongly suggested that the wheels were falling off Mourinho's bus in the Spanish capital, but Madrid's win over Barca shows that you can never write off The Special One.

This week Sabotage Times viewers read how Jose Mourinho failed his interview to land the Barcelona hot seat in 2008 because the directors thought he was too feisty, too attention seeking and not the right fit for their special club.

About a month ago I wrongly suggested that the wheels were falling off Mourinho's bus in the Spanish capital, that he was losing the plot and that they might end up this season trophy-less.

After overseeing his first El Clásico win against Real's bitter rivals in the league and reopening a seven point La Liga lead, it looks like the Special One is going to have the last laugh after all.

Unsurprising really, seeing as he has always been a winner in football management. Highlights from just over a ten year top flight career include: the Portugese title, (twice) the English title, (twice) the Italian title (twice) and all three of these country's domestic cups. (not to mention Spain's) And the UEFA Cup. Oh, and the Champions League twice with two different clubs. He's also won enough individual awards to make Arsene Wenger look like Steve McClaren. Put simply, the guy is incredible.

So why did Barcelona ignore the chance to make him their manager? And why did I publicly (and prematurely) announce his downfall this season? Well, Barca thought they have too many 'morals' to have such a self obsessed manager. And, I am just rubbish at predicting Football.

Anyway whatever happened during Mourinho's ill-fated power-point presentations to the Barca board, he is now sitting in the hot-seat (probably a throne with 'The Special One' emblazoned on it) at the Bernabeu.

He's also won enough individual awards to make Arsene Wenger look like Steve McClaren. Put simply, the guy is incredible.

He looks set to add the La Liga title to his glittering C.V. and in doing so return the domestic trophy to Spain's most glamorous club for the first time in three seasons of second best, ending Barca's stranglehold on the Iberian league.

He may even add the Champions League too, which would be a third with three different clubs. Staggering, but he needs to overcome a resilient Bayern side to do that, who have the added incentive of hosting the final in their back yard.

But it was last night where the damage was done to Barcelona. The El Clásico didn't disappoint, as an engrossing match saw Real triumph over their bitter rivals away from home, something they haven't done since 2007.

It looked unlikely at the start, with Barca offering a hostile reception as the players walked out to a 90,000 mosaic of Catalan colours that would have intimidated even the most fearsome of travelling sides.

Real came with a plan though. A Mourinho plan. Bully Barca on set pieces and catch them on the counter attack. Like most of the Portugese's plans, it worked.

Cristiano Ronaldo was imperious, overshadowing his great rival Messi and offering food for thought to all those who simply dismiss his ability with the line: 'he goes missing in the big games'.

This was as big a game as they come, and CR7 was up to scratch. Having a header tipped over early on, Ronny scored an exceptional winner and could added insult to injury in stoppage time.

Barca didn't have a shot on target until the 70th minute, which goes some way in explaining just how right Mourinho's tactics were on the night. On the other hand, Guardiola either got it wrong or prioritised the Champions League over La Liga. Starting with Pique, Fabregas and Sanchez on the bench, Pep selected young Tello on the left, Thiago in the middle and Puyol and Mascherano together at the back.

Tello looked promising but missed a host of chances, Thiago was decent but his positioning meant Xavi was less influential than normal and Pique was definitely missed. Puyol is getting to the 'past it' stage and Mascherano just isn't a centre-back.

To see Xavi looking bemused on the bench having been subbed after a largely ineffectual performance brought a wry smile to my face.

It didn't go all Real's way, as Barca dominated possession, (like normal) but the two teams did create the same amount of chances. But it was the visitor's ruthless streak that won it, as Ronaldo's lovely winner came just a few minutes after the hosts had equalised.

The first two goals were pretty pants to be honest. Khedira opened the scoring by literally tackling the ball into the goal, and Barca's reply was jammy itself, the ball ricocheting back off Sanchez from a Casillas save just after the Chilean had come on.

Madrid rode their luck for sure, but as an Arsenal fan I have to say I did enjoy watching Barca suffer. To see Xavi looking bemused on the bench having been subbed after a largely ineffectual performance brought a wry smile to my face. Then to see him chuck his bottle cap away in anger Wenger-esque made me splutter into my pint. Barca DNA? Oh, just get a room with Cesc why don't you mate.

At the final whistle Real's players rightly celebrated as if they had won the title. With a seven point cushion and just four games to play, you can hardly blame them.

They had gift wrapped La Liga right under their most fierce rivals nose. Mourinho coming back to haunt the club he used to work as a translator for. And all that.

One thing I will take from this is never write off Mourinho. And with Guardiola looking stumped for ideas, Barca probably shouldn't have done so either. Sorry Jose, can you ever forgive me?

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