Jose Mourinho and Real
Madrid proved to themselves as much as to the rest of the world
that they can more than match Barcelona on the field of play,
despite being knocked out of the King's Cup on Wednesday.
The holders gave a thrilling attacking performance at the
Nou Camp and had their arch-rivals hanging on for the final
whistle as they came back to draw 2-2 before falling 4-3 on
aggregate, just one goal away from progress to the semi-finals.
The offensive line-up, the asphyxiating pressure on Barca's
playmakers and their never-say-die spirit were a stark contrast
to their poor showing in the first leg, which led to the first
serious signs of protests against Mourinho's stewardship.
"Madrid shrugged off their recent complexes and were a
centimetre away from a monumental achievement," the sports daily
Marca said on Thursday.
The pro-Barcelona daily Mundo Deportivo wrote "It was a
two-legged tie and Barca knocked out Real at the Bernabeu."
Real fans had been unhappy with what they perceived as
Mourinho's timid and defensive-minded tactics in the first leg.
Playmakers Mesut Ozil and Kaka, who started on Wednesday,
were left on the bench last week, while newspaper reports of a
divided dressing room added to the club's frustration at their
inability to overcome the European champions.
Former Chelsea and Inter boss, Mourinho, has only managed
one win over Barca in 10 attempts, but it was the manner of the
defeats which particularly hurt Real followers.
"[Fans] won't whistle him for defeats like these," El Pais
wrote on Thursday.
"Barca played badly and Real played well. Luck turned its
back on Mourinho, but the game revealed the way to combat
Real defender Alvaro Arbeloa told reporters: "We have ridden
ourselves of this block that we had when we played against
JOIN THE PARTY
Once again, Real finished a match against Barca with 10 men
after Sergio Ramos was sent off near the end, and visiting
players crowded the referee to complain at the final whistle.
Under Mourinho, Real have had seven players sent off in 10
matches against Barca and the Portuguese has regularly accused
officials of favouring their rivals.
"I heard players saying in the dressing room it was
impossible to win here," Mourinho said afterwards.
Real and Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas told referee
Fernando Teixeira Vitienes to go and join the party with the
Barcelona team as he left the pitch.
"Yes, I did say that, but it was in the heat of the moment,"
Casillas said. "We deserved much more. We are sad but pleased
that we have put in a good performance. You can see it is much
more even between us now."
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique dismissed the complaints:
"The referees make decisions which can help or go against both
The Madrid-based daily As said it was wrong for the club to
seek excuses in the refereeing, and had words of advice for
Mourinho, who's side top La Liga by five points from Barca, and
who still have to visit the Nou Camp in the league this season.
"The key is that Real has players to match or overcome
Barcelona, but only if they believe it, attempt and persevere
with them against the recent trend, like last night," Alfredo
"With the good players, Madrid can succeed."
Borussia Dortmund's Mario Gotze ruled out of Champions League final against Bayern Munich
Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini will leave the La Liga club at the end of the current season
Stoke City and manager Tony Pulis part company by mutual agreement after seven years
Andy Carroll pulls out of England's friendly internationals against Ireland and Brazil
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010