Jose Mourinho’s won the equivalent of the Supercopa in his three previous stints – the Supertaca C. de Oliveira (Portugal) in ’03, Community Shield in ’05 and Supercoppa Italiana in ’08 – yet, this morning we find him downplaying the importance of today’s first leg against old friends Barcelona (4:30pm EST). Is anyone surprised? Mourinho has made a career out of playing head games and taking the pressure off his players, often times taking the proverbial bullet himself.
Former Madrid keeper Jerzy Dudek’s autobiography – entitled ‘Under Pressure’- provides a glimpse into Mourinho’s ability to lift his team mentally. In one chapter, Dudek recounts the scene in the Madrid locker room after a 5-0 humiliation at the hands of their Catalonian rivals:
Some were crying, some were fighting, some were just staring at the floor. Then Jose Mourinho entered in, he knew how bad we were. He looked at us and he said: “I know that you feel bad. Very bad. Maybe for some of you it’s the biggest failure in their lives. But this is only the beginning. They are happy now, they feel like they have won the competition, but for now they have won only a game. The road for the title is still long. You are free tomorrow, but don’t stay home. Take your kids, your wives, your friends and try to forget about it. Show to everybody that you can pass this bad moment. Maybe you will feel something bad, but do not hide. Show your balls. When you will decide to do that, we will fight until the end for the title.” I thought that everything that he said made a lot of sense, everyone thought that. We stood up after that disaster sooner before we thought we would. In that moment I understood how important the psychology in sport is, and what an amazing psychologist Mourinho was.”
The above was translated from Polish, thus the wonky grammar in spots, but the point is clear. One year ago Barcelona defeated Madrid 5-4 on aggregate to win the 2011 Supercopa. The game was marred by Mourinho’s infamous eye-poke on Tito Vilanova. Only the most devoted Mourinhoistas would cite that disturbing (yet also hilarious) incident as another example of the manager’s ability to take the focus away from his team after another crushing defeat – and though I’m not a devotee, it sort of did. Seven months later Madrid defeated Barcelona 2-1 at the Camp Nou to secure the domestic title.
From the man himself:
“In my opinion, it has no consequences for the rest of the season – but it is a competition we want to win, and our opponents too. Between rivals, you never want to lose.”
No consequences? Who you foolin, Jose?
Toronto FC vs. Columbus Crew – Game Recap
Steven Fletcher set for medical…edging closer to Sunderland move.
Gary Cahill admits Torres was offside…Fernando’s not going to be happy.
Rodgers rules out loan move for Andy Carroll.
Manchester United and Liverpool battle it out for Zoro a.k.a Hector Herrera.
Brendan Rodgers expects Daniel Agger to stay.
QPR complain over ‘abusive messages’ from former keeper.
Manchester City opposed to a proposed Premier League financial fair play.
West Ham agrees to Matt Jarvis deal.
Liverpool still chasing Daniel Sturridge.
Julio Cesar in talks with QPR over move to Loftus Road.
Despite what you may think Romelu Lukaku claims that he doesn’t hate Andre Vilas-Boas.
Former Portsmouth owner submits new bid.
Marseille deny any deal with Chelsea for Azpilicueta.
Another exit from Emirates Stadium…Zenit St Petersburg line up bid for Arshavin.
Alexandre Pato injured once again.
Napoli midfielder Walter Gargano writes an open letter to fans explaining his move to Inter Milan.
AC Milan set to offer Ze Eduardo a trial.
Italian international Alessandro Diamanti signs a new deal with Bologna.
Gaston Ramirez set to remain in Italy despite Premier League interest.
Liverpool set to sign Nuri Sahin.
The unwanted man – Real Madrid confirms there has been no bids for Kaka.
Nikola Zigic’s move Mallorca stalls.
Real Madrid gets ahead of itself with Modric signing.
“Luka Modric deal is imminent” – Zoran Mamic
Bits and bobs
Former Arsenal players capture 44 trophies in last seven years.
Andres Iniesta – Master of the midfield.
Swansea’s bargain move for Michu explained.
Funniest football impersonations.
Unbelievable strike from another Dos Santos.
Neymar completely skies this penalty shot.
According to Adrian Mutu he’s having a goal-scoring duel with Ibrahimovic this season, and he thinks he’s going to win.
Well it looks like Paul Pogba does have some skill after all.
Today’s rumor roundup.
Thanks to Michael Tomasone for the links.