Defending Mourinho, yet
I am suspicious of pleasing people, especially if there is a microphone involved. I prefer the unpleasant kind who, when away from the spotlight, usually tends to surprise with an endearing character. I am heavily outnumbered, I know this. The audience likes to hear what they want to hear, but I am much more worried by journalists who let themselves be wheedled by color or appearance. This is relevant because of the bad press, mainly Spanish, of Real Madrid’s coach, José Mourinho, and the good one, rightfully acquired, of Pep Guardiola, of Barcelona.
Let it be said first that, even though often many comments make me have doubts, I’d swear football wasn’t invented by Guardiola, I’d even say that his exquisite style of interpreting this sport is not the only way of giving a good spectacle. If that were the case, I’d be forced to renounce to Baresi’s Milan, the Atleti of Luis or Ormaetxea’s Real Sociedad, just to mention a few teams that made me jump up the couch.
But in the heat of these clásicos absolute truths are being crafted out of circumstantial evidence, like ball possession and the wetness of the grass. What good does a 70% possession make if Barcelona didn’t take a single shot during the first 45 minutes of the Copa? Posession is valuable if the rival is actually fighting for it.
Fortunately or unfortunately, sport generates beautiful legends deriving from reality. Pelé, I am sorry, did not score a goal from the midfield. Javier Clemente, another great ‘unpleasant’, wasn’t that coach who never started Sarabia, but rather the only one who lined him up constantly. And, now that we’re at it, we should remember the criticism that poured down on him for watering the field, a trait that, if it were picked up by Guardiola, would become holy water.
Sometimes I get bored, yes, with Mourinho’s teams, Benítez’s, of the polite Wenger (less polite, what a coincidence!, since he loses it all), but also with Guardiola’s. If the backpass was punished, like in basketball or handball, he’d have trouble keeping his style. Obviously, as the excellent coach he is, he’d look for his life and find strategic solutions to favor his team and damage the rival. This is the exact same thing that Mourinho tries, he who, after the 5-0 at Camp Nou (where his valiant offensive setup didn’t receive any compliments), claimed he was to blame fully for the incident. Effectively, he played against Barca de tú a tú, as if they were equal. Even worse: while all the azulgrana defend in one way or another, Mourinho gave freedom to Cristiano and Benzema. In the clásico I (1-1) Mourinho put his eleven players to work and, even then, they were barely able to do little more than defending themselves. They were saved by Barcelona’s stinginess, dedicated fully to giving backpasses when they had Madrid dead and with one less. However, the only critique to this conservativism came from Guardiola. Such a psychologically important draw like that one (it gave fuel to Real Madrid to win the only thing that they could win, the clásico II, the King’s cup) was battered by criticism from its own side, from Di Stéfano to De la Red, who seemed to forget about times of real mediocrity of the club like that of Boskov.
Mourinho’s Madrid is not mediocre. There are not so brief glimpses of brilliance, very often courageous and feisty, even at times rude and ordinary. But none of these traits have been brought on by the Portuguese. It’s in the genes of the White Club. Have we forgotten the ax of Benito or the squeezing Juanito was subjected to? Mou isn’t the devil and Guardiola isn’t God. Madrid has the best squad, but Barca has the better starting eleven. That Mourinho who makes a rock out of 11 destroys and scores six against the third placed team in the League. Is Mourinho defensive? Only when he knows himself inferior. Is Barcelona offensive? When it suits them. Let us run away from fundamentalism, which is not only political or religious. If we have the two best teams in the world, why enjoy only one?
Thanks to motsdesoie for the translation