Will Tidey - Mourinho's Madrid are everything you'd expect and more
Published: 04 Nov 2010 - 06:05:33
Fourteen games into Jose Mourinho's reign at Real Madrid and his new world order is gathering momentum. Unbeaten and predictably unfazed by the Galaticos legend, the Special One's team are evermore emphatically Mourinho-esque.
Against Milan Mourinho's team were undone by a rare Iker Casillas howler and the most glaring of mistakes by the referee's assistant. Filippo Inzaghi, 37 and still everything you'd expect, jumped delightedly on the gift horse, and Real found themselves trailing with 10 minutes to go at the San Siro.
Is was a lead that flattered the home side and everybody inside the stadium knew it. Madrid had dominated possession, shown more imagination in the final third and been comprehensively more dynamic to a man.
It was a performance brimming with youthful effervescence and hunger. In contrast Milan looked a tired and blunt force, and their cause was illustrated perfectly by the increasingly ineffective Ronaldinho.
But the old dogs almost had their day. Inzaghi pounced to head them level and poked home from a yard offside to give Milan an unlikely advantage on 78 minutes. Clarence Seedorf, the ultimate closer, was sent on to seal the deal. The script was all but written.
Only Mourinho had a script of his own, and it didn't culminate in an Italian footballing funeral of feigned injuries and time wasting.
He sent on Karim Benzema and Pedro Leon and watched the pair combine to snatch a late equaliser. A fist-pumping celebration followed by the dugout, before Mourinho conjured memories of his Old Trafford touchline run in chasing down substitute Raul Albiol.
The Special One wasn't about to let Milan steal this thunder. And what better response to their attempted shut-out than a late equaliser followed by a clock-stopping substitution.
Pedro's goal was more important than most. Not only did it secure Madrid's passage to the knockout stages, but it served to maintain Mourinho's unbeaten start to the season and illustrate the blood-and-guts togetherness the Portuguese demands from every team he touches.
This is Real Madrid, but not as you know them. They're lean, battle-hardened and hardworking to a man, and give the impression of a team who are desperate to impress their manager.
When you place an ego like Mourinho at the head of operations there's simply not room for any others to crash the party.
- FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Will Tidey
- Will Tidey writes on sport for CNN, Eurosport-Yahoo! and Bleacher Report, amongst others. His first book, 'Life with Sir Alex', an account of Sir Alex Ferguson's 25-year reign at Manchester United, is set for release in October this year. Pre-order it now at http://tinyurl.com/6xzl62b. And follow Will on Twitter here - www.twitter.com/willtidey
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