Real Madrid in real mess after second league loss
After dominating the Spanish league last season, defending
champion Real Madrid was supposed to brush aside its lesser
domestic rivals in this campaign and focus on winning a coveted
10th Champions League trophy.
But after losing its second league match 1-0 at Sevilla on
Saturday, Madrid is reeling only two days before facing Manchester
City in the Champions League.
Coach Jose Mourinho says he ”doesn’t have a team,” forward
Cristiano Ronaldo is ”sad,” and the entire club is wondering what
has so quickly gone so wrong.
Through four rounds, Madrid has just one win to go with a draw
and a pair of losses and already trails pacesetter Barcelona by
eight points as it languishes in the middle of the standings.
Mourinho has to find a quick turnaround as Madrid plays English
titleholder Manchester City on Tuesday in their Champions league
opener, a game that it can ill afford to lose in a challenging
group that includes German champion Borussia Dortmund and Dutch
”We didn’t expect to have this start,” said Madrid club
spokesman and former star Emilio Butragueno. ”(Eight points) are a
lot of points. We have a very important game on Tuesday. It’s
In his first two seasons at Madrid, Mourinho rarely blamed his
players for a bad result. But he has been openly critical of his
squad from week one when it slipped to a home draw with
After its loss at Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium on Saturday he was
brutal in his judgment of his team’s effort, saying that for many
of his players ”football is not a priority.”
”I am worried because since the beginning of the season we have
only played well in the Spanish Supercup (vs. Barcelona), but
nothing else,” said Mourinho, whose team hadn’t dropped this many
points until week 15 last season.
”More than being worried about the points, what worries me at
this moment is that I don’t have a team.”
Madrid-friendly Spanish sports daily Marca’s cover on Sunday
read: ”Eight points from Barca in week four, Mou declares a state
of alarm in Madrid.”
Barcelona, meanwhile, remained perfect through four games after
Lionel Messi scored a brace to take his league-leading tally to six
goals in its 4-1 rout at Getafe on Saturday.
”The gap (with Madrid) is surprising,” said Barcelona
midfielder Sergio Busquets on Sunday. ”But there is still a long
way to go.”
Mourinho said Madrid’s poor form predated Ronaldo’s enigmatic
comments two weeks ago that he wasn’t happy with the Spanish club,
sparking speculation that he was seeking a better contract or even
a move to another team.
”This game wasn’t very different from the other games,”
Mourinho said after the defeat in Seville. ”Therefore I don’t
think it has any relation with the rumor of the last two
Either way, Ronaldo was key to Madrid’s title fight last season
with a club-record 46 league goals. So far this season he has
scored two, both coming against the modest Granada at home when he
showed his displeasure with the club by not celebrating his
To Mourinho’s chagrin, Madrid has proven to be particularly
vulnerable on set pieces, despite having physical defenders like
Sergio Ramos and Pepe along with imposing midfielders in Sami
Khedira and Xabi Alonso.
Madrid left Sevilla midfielder Piotr Trochowski unmarked to
blast a corner kick into the top of the net two minutes into
Saturday’s match, and then failed to mount a comeback. In previous
rounds, Madrid conceded goals off set pieces in its 1-1 draw with
Valencia and its 2-1 loss at Getafe.
”The problem is the attitude from minute one,” a perplexed
Mourinho said. ”We cannot work more on set pieces. Every player
knows his role, the opponent he has to mark, the zone he has to
cover, and yet we concede a goal just a minute into the game. It is
an image of a team without focus or a willingness to suffer.”
Ramos did not dare contradict his coach’s opinion.
”(Mourinho) is the best at seeing football. It is true that the
moment has arrived to look at what we can improve and what things
we need to change,” he said. ”It is time to change our