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Mourinho must shoulder some of the blame as Madrid continue to stutter
- Updated: 27 August, 2012
It is somewhat ironic that the man who sent Real Madrid to their second consecutive defeat of the season was reportedly wanted by the Spanish champions as a reinforcement for their reserve team.
Getafe President Angel Torres is said to have been contacted by his more illustrious neighbours earlier this summer with a view to sign French-born, Moroccan international Abdel Barrada for newly-promoted Segunda outfit, Real Madrid Castilla. Those overtures received short shrift from Torres, and Barrada came back to haunt Mourinho’s men on Sunday evening as he sent them crashing to a 2-1 defeat at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez. The loss brought to end 15 consecutive victories against sides from the Spanish capital for los Blancos – contributing to their worst start to a season in almost 40 years.
Talk of crisis may be somewhat premature after just two games, nonetheless, Real Madrid already find themselves five points behind bitter rivals Barcelona and sit just one point off the bottom of the table.
Mourinho branded his side’s performance as ‘unacceptable’ during a rare public riposte towards his players in the post-match press conference – before praising Getafe boss Luis Garcia and his team for a thoroughly deserved victory. In truth, the Portuguese coach was a culpable as his players for the defeat. The decision to replace midfield stalwart Lassana Diarra with Karim Benzema seconds after Juan Valera had brought Getafe level, proved a huge blunder by the former Chelsea boss and ultimately cost his team the game.
It was a bold decision from Mourinho, no doubt prompted by the prospect of falling even further behind a resurgent Barcelona should they fail to win, however, with more than half an hour of the match still to play, it was a decision that backfired horribly.
True, the introduction of Benzema added increased impetuous going forward, however, with no recognised defensive midfielder on the pitch, Madrid were left horribly exposed at the back – the underperforming Raul Albiol looking particularly uncomfortable. It would be harsh to highlight individuals, not least because a number of players were on the peripheries of the game, nevertheless, the former Valencia defender had a night to forget.
Albiol looked far from convincing throughout the game and was at fault for Getafe’s winner as he allowed Adrian Colunga space to set up Abdel Barrada 15 minutes from time. Replays showed Colunga used his hand before racing clear of his marker, yet the infringement should not detract from the fact that Albiol woefully misjudged the flight of the ball. One must wonder what hugely-talented French youngster Rafael Verane must have been thinking sat on the Real Madrid bench – calls to hand the 19-year-old a starting berth will surely increase in the wake of yet another horror show from Albiol.
Elsewhere on the pitch, Mesut Ozil was poor – yet still allowed to play the entire 90 minutes, while Cristiano Ronaldo was again largely conspicuous by his absence. The Portuguese maestro spoke of his tiredness after last weekend’s draw against Valencia and it is clear he is yet to fire on all cylinders. The normally reliable Xabi Alonso has also struggled to find his range so far this season – surely a by-product of a gruelling summer in which he played a key role in Spain’s Euro 2012 triumph before jetting off for Real Madrid’s lucrative but tiring tour of the United States.
The decision to travel across the Atlantic for yet another pre-season is beginning to look increasingly misjudged – not least when Barcelona, who chose to remain in Europe, continue to look far sharper than their rivals. This is a subject that obviously perturbs Mourinho as he again drew attention to it during Sunday’s post-match press conference saying: “Tired players are not able to analyse what went wrong, we will go home to rest then discuss it. For now, you can come to your own conclusions.”
With the Supercup visit of Barcelona on Wednesday night however, there is little time for rest. The Catalans go into the match with a slender 3-2 advantage but it is still very much all to play for in an encounter that is more about gaining an early psychological advantage than lifting a trophy. Win that match and Real Madrid would give their season the kick start it so desperately needs after such an underwhelming beginning.
Few will be hitting the panic buttons just yet at the Bernabeu, however, Mourinho and Real Madrid already face an uphill battle in their efforts to successfully defend their league crown. Interestingly, only one side has ever gone on to win the title after picking up just one point from their first two games. That team? Barcelona of course.Follow @icentrocampista