The nightmare season continues for defending La Liga Champions Real Madrid as they were held to a scoreless 0-0 draw against bottom of the League Osasuna on Saturday January 12, 2013.
Real Madrid had only one shot on goal all game against Osasuna at Osasuna’s Reyno de Navarra Stadium. To add insult to injury, this was Madrid worst performance in La Liga since Mourinho took over as club manager.
The loss puts Madrid in third place, 15 points behind League leaders Barcelona. (Barcelona could increase that lead to 18 points on Sunday with a win against fifth place Malaga).
Madrid struggled and played from behind most of the night because they had to play without Cristiano Ronaldo who was serving a one game suspension after picking up a 5 th yellow card last week. Things didn’t get any better when the Brazilian, Kaka picked up two yellow cards in 18 minutes after coming on as a sub. Kaka was sent off with 15 minutes left in the game causing Madrid to play from behind with only ten men.
What made Saturday’s loss significant is the road ahead in the Champions League doesn’t get any easier for Madrid in Group D. They have a matchup against EPL powerhouse Manchester United when United visits Santiago Bernabéu Stadium on February 13. Madrid then has to travel to Old Trafford for an away game on March 5, 2013.
Saturday loss brings a lot of criticism for the controversial Mourinho for benching captain Iker Casillas for the less-experienced Antonio Adan. Casillas is arguably the best goalkeeper in the world. Until this recent drop from the starting eleven, Casillas has not missed a La Liga game for Real Madrid since 2002.
The Spanish International and Real Madrid captain has been publically clashing with manager Jose Mourinho. He has been criticizing Mourinho’s coaching style and caused a few rifts between players and the coach. This public feud has resulted in Casillas being dropped from the starting lineup, and led to speculations that Mourinho will be fired by Madrid.
Personally, I don’t believe he will be fired. When Mourinho was hired by Madrid, they knew exactly what they were getting. With Mourinho, what you see is what you get. He is known for benching players who question his authority; don’t play up to par; or give him 100 percent on the pitch. The bottom line is he likes to have full control which led to his firing from Chelsea in 2007.
This isn’t Mourinho’s “first rodeo” he has come under fire before and somehow manages to come out ahead.
That’s why he remained “cool as a cucumber” during Saturday’s press conference stating he was not going to use injuries or suspensions as excuses for Real's erratic performance this season. Also, he refused to answer questions about whether Casillas would be inserted backing into the starting lineup on Tuesday against Valencia in the Spanish Cup.
At the end of the day, Madrid needs Mourinho just as much as he needs Madrid. He is not going anywhere. Real Madrid may not win the La Liga title this year, but they still have the Copa del Rey and Champions League titles to play for and if anyone could get them back on track its Mourinho. Let’s not forget, they did win the La Liga last year with Mourinho at the helm.
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