Lets admit it, Barcelona were the better team in El Clasico. They deserved to win, and Real Madrid deserved to lose. When Mourinho says he felt “helpless”, we surely can understand the magnitude of the loss. In his own words,
“This wasn’t a tense match. I didn’t feel I could really help. I tried to during halftime, but the game was over once Barcelona scored the third goal. I didn’t want my team to lose its balance and dignity until the end of the match. I knew early on that we had no chance and I felt a little helpless not being able to help accomplish what we wanted.”
I am sure the analysis of this Clasico’s result must have consumed reams of paper in print and innumerable pages on the internet. It’s time to look beyond the Clasico and try to get a sense of what lies ahead for Real Madrid in the future.
Psychology of players
In the post match conference, Mourinho also said,
“I hope this does not affect the players psychologically. I told them exactly that. That the championship didn’t end today. Who knows if we will return to this stadium again this season? Last year I lost here with Inter and a few months later we returned, qualified for the Champions League final and they got stuck at home watching it on television. We must have character. I always tell players that they have reason to cry with joy after winning important matches. You cannot cry when you concede four or five goals. You must be anxious to return to work and win the next match. I wish the Valencia match was tomorrow and not Saturday. After such a bad match you must go right back to work, play and win.”
Undoubtedly, El Clasico has taken a toll on the mental strength of the Real Madrid squad. Going by Ramos’ blatant pushes on his Spanish counterparts in the dying minutes of the match, it appears that the Madrid players were in no mood to think what they were doing on the pitch; they were battered. Here lies the test of Mourinho; he has to make his players believe that it was one bad performance, and one bad performance definitely doesn’t make the players bad. He has to remind them they had beaten teams like AC Milan and demolished teams on the way to the Clasico.He needs to make the players focus on the next match, and more importantly, lure them to play better in the upcoming Champions league matches, so that they regain their confidence and start producing the same results they did pre-clasico.
This Real Madrid team is the future
When Florentino Perez made his summer signings this year, it was evident that he was trying to build a team for the future. Barcelona have built their squad after years of hardwork; it did not happen in a season or two. When Real Madrid crashed out last year in the UCL and finished second in the Liga, inspite of shelling out 250 million, Perez decided to build a team for the future rather than dream in the present. He bought some very promising youngsters, who could well become the world’s best players some day.
Players like Khedira,Ozil and Di Maria must have been over-awed at the atmosphere of the Camp Nou. They are terrific players who have started to learn to play at the highest level everyday. You cant expect them to play like the Messis or Iniestas in their first season in La liga.They are young and have it in them to be galacticos; they need some time. The match against Barcelona has been the toughest match of their life, and they surely must have learnt their lessons. They need to learn more, work harder and develop a style of their own, so that they can dominate matches and play games in their respective style. In addition to them, in Ronaldo,Ramos and Higuan, they have players who have settled well into the Real Madrid system.
Madrid has a very young squad and hence they can hope to achieve great success if they continue to work hard. Real Madrid values character and a never-say-die spirit, which is exactly what these players should inculcate in themselves. If they can do this, Real Madrid could be very well on top in a few years.
Can Mourinho do something?
Absolutely yes. If there is any coach in the world who can guide Real Madrid through such a difficult time, it is definitely ‘The Special One’. Mourinho is a fantastic coach who earns respect from his players and who makes it a point to make his players mentally strong. He has to continue the good work he started with this team and make Real Madrid a force to reckon with. With the talent he has at his disposal, and with his training methods, he can achieve that.
He has won trophies in every country he has played, against quality teams and has beaten them. But surely, no one is perfect. He perhaps made mistakes in underestimating the Barca team and overestimating his players’ prowess in a counter attack. He has to change Real Madrid into an attacking team rather than a counter attacking team; Real Madrid has to learn to impose their play on the opposition rather than just create opportunities to score. If this is accomplished, they surely can challenge teams like Barcelona in the future. He doesn’t need to start exactly from scratch, but just needs to carry on the good work.
How should fans react to this defeat?
This defeat undoubtedly has been humiliating for the fans. But they need to understand that this team is a work in progress. Assembling a team of superstars and having the world’s best coach doesn’t mean you can win every match. The team is still learning, and the players are trying hard to adjust to the new system. The fans need to give them time.
Before the Clasico, they stood behind their team, watching opponents being tore apart and praising the stars for their conquests; when their team lost, it makes no sense abandoning them. Real Madrid players play for their fans and want to entertain them by playing the best football possible. Even they must be ashamed of this defeat. We must accept that such defeats are part of the process and will make the players realize how much more hard work they need to put in, and also try to make amends for the painful loss.
We have every right to celebrate our team victories and cheer them when they are doing well. But this also means that we have to support our team in times of crisis.
The season has not yet reached the halfway mark; it has merely started. Real Madrid are still considered a serious threat for all the trophies this year. The return fixture at the Santiago Bernabeu presents a great opportunity for Real Madrid to avenge their defeat, and this time 80,000 fans will be cheering for them. They need to start preparing for the big game.
Victories and defeats are a part of football. Heartbreaks are many. But a Real team (pun intended) learns from their defeats and comes back stronger and better. In football, making a comeback and then winning something has more glory than just winning. This defeat might just be the start of a glorious chapter in Real Madrid’s history. Already most Madridistas are optimistic about their team, and are willing to stand behind their players at such a crucial juncture. They have faith in the players, in the knowledge that the men in white will come back stronger than ever. Are you one of those Real fans??
Real Madrid forever. HALA MADRID!!