5-0 was the score when Barcelona last met Real Madrid before the current Clasico marathon kicked-off. Well, Jose Mourinho was probably brought in to break their invisibility in the Champions League as well as crush Barca's dominance over the Spanish La Liga. But that defeat last November raised numerous doubts on whether Mourinho was indeed the 'Special One' to bring success to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Jose Mourinho has always stressed that the current squad at Madrid is a long-term project and he has continuously inserted some very good ideas into this set-up and formed the winning mentality in them. But as they approached the Clasico marathon of four games, there were imminent talks of another drubbing at the hands of the Catalans.
However, Mourinho literally brought justice into Los Blancos as they battled out for a point in the Clasico I at the Bernabeu. Four days later, the Galacticos were even better as they outclassed Guardiola's men after 120 minutes of sizzling football at the Mestalla. It was Guardiola's first Clasico defeat as a manager of Barca.
But rather than focusing on where did it go wrong for the Blaugranas, the media attention was grilled towards the triumphant Jose Mourinho, who seems to have a magnificent tactic of outdoing probably the best team in the world. The whole Madrid was in frenzy mode as beating Barca was something they have not experienced in quite a while.
Nevertheless, as we approach Clasico III in the Champions League this time around, our attention goes back to Barcelona and their tactics. Where did the Catalans go wrong at Mestalla last week? Why was so delicate to overcome the defence of Los Blancos?
Sergio Busquets was also rather peculiar with how the last two games against Madrid ended although he was convinced that only minor details determined the winner. Nonetheless, he has called upon his teammates to stand for themselves and change their mentality ahead of their Champions League tie against Madrid.
"We have to change our mentality, the semi-finals of the Champions League are very hard," he told reporters. They are games which don't last 90 minutes, but 180. We have to be careful, work well and take an important step."
But as we said, do Barcelona really have to change their MENTALITY? To be frank, we do not think so. Guardiola's men have so often tormented opponents with their slick passing and languid style of football. The 'winning' mentality has always been there at the Nou Camp but the basic reason behind their ineffective performances against Madrid is probably due to their poor showings in the final third of the pitch.
Basically, it wasn't a sight of Real Madrid keeping possession or dictating the play but it was rather normal to see the Blaugranas control the dynamics of the match. However, the finishing and predatory showings at the front was pretty poor. But a half chunk of it was maybe due to how the likes of Pepe and Khedira placed them under constant pressure throughout the match.
So frankly speaking, the fundamental aspects that Guardiola will have to work on is, how do they crack the Madrid nut. Their mentality is one of the most effective on in the world and while there's not the slightest need for them to evolve a new mentality, there is certainly some detailed segments of their game that they could work on.
Keeping the ball will once against be the key at the Bernabeu this Wednesday. But Puyol and co must be wary of not overloading their attacking attempts because Cristiano Ronaldo and co will constantly be looking to capitalize on the smallest of space in the Barca defence. Like it or not, it will be another tightly contested match at the Santiago Bernabeu.
|Real Madrid||May 2|
|Celta de Vigo||May 4|
|Bayern München||May 6|