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Jose Mourinho vs Barcelona

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Mourinho will have his work cut out trying to beat Barcelona with a 2-0 deficitUndoubtedly Jose Mourinho is one of the greatest managers to ever grace the modern game but can the Portuguese manager really live up to his ‘Special One’ status and mount an almost impossible task to overturn a two goal deficit at the Camp Nou in the Champions League Semi-Final.

Whether it be in charge of Porto or Chelsea, Mourinho has always had everything his own way; winning title after title, game after game! He is a multi-champions league winning manager, more notably when he led Porto to Champions League success in 2004. Another of his many achievements has been his outrageous nine year undefeated home league record (150 games) which was unfortunately surprisingly ended by Sporting Gijon, of all teams.

Now in his latest challenge, the Galatico manager is under pressure he has never had before, being totally outclassed in the league by a Barcelona team who is one of the finest teams to step foot onto the field of play; being trounced 5-0 in the team’s first league meeting, Mourinho probably wouldn’t have revelled in finding out he was to meet the Catalonian based side four times in an eighteen day period; in the league, Copa del ray final and two Champions League semi-final legs.

Coming into these phenomenal four games Mourinho had not fared too well against Barcelona, in previous three meetings he has seen a player sent off in each of these games. Mourinho who is known for his tactical mind games between the media and the opposition’s manager was up to his usual tricks by explaining that he had been training his team so they were able to cope with ten men as he believes he always gets pro-Barcelona officials; the reason behind his players always getting sent off. Non-surprisingly this trend continued in their final league meeting as a game of attrition ended in a 1-1 draw and a red card for another Mourinho player.

Jose was defiant that he must win a trophy before the season ended and the Copa Del Ray was realistically his only chance of achieving this. Another disappointing game marred by gamesmanship and constant diving, he saw his side go down to ten men for the fifth game in a row! Fortunately it was after Cristiano Ronaldo had sent a bullet header passed a helpless Pinto in extra time. The game ended 1-0 to Real Madrid, and finally Mourinho had found some way of stopping this unbelievable Barcelona team. Although not a major trophy in Spanish terms, Mourinho can still say that he has picked up a trophy during this testing period.

Coming into much globally anticipated first of two semi-final legs, the momentum was with Madrid, who had now installed some doubt into the minds of the Barcelona players, that they can be beaten. Yet again it wasn’t the game that the neutrals desired, it was another boring game, again dented by the amount of bad challenges and diving from both sets of players. Real Madrid where doing a fine job of silencing Lionel Messi, until the erratic Pepe saw a straight red for a high challenge on Dani Alves (six reds in six games against Barcelona for Jose Mourinho!). Then Messi really stepped up a few gears and really ripped up the Madrid defence, scoring a memorable second goal for himself and the team, putting the tie well beyond Real Madrid.

Mourinho now faces his toughest test to date, can he really prove that he is the ‘Special One’ that he claims he is. With Barcelona holding a two away goal cushion going into their home leg, it looks almost impossible for Madrid to be able to score at least two goals at the Nou Camp to stand any sort of chance of forcing extra time. If you felt anyone could pull of this miracle, Mourinho probably would be the only person that you would expect could do it. There’s no doubt that tempers will be flaring and the final meeting between the two should be an explosive game as Madrid really have nothing to lose!

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