ESPN Soccernet - Correspondents - Real Madrid CF
soccernet blog
Real Madrid CF
Posted by Michael Hudson on 08/31/2010

The 2010-2011 campaign got off to a very tumultuous start for Madrid on Sunday night in Mallorca. Mourinho quickly hailed the team's defensive structure, which, in fairness, looks to be the most improved unit on the pitch, but he was quick to rue the opportunities squandered through poor finishing.

It is the beginning of a long season, and Mourinho emphasized the fact that his squad is still developing; however, Madrid faithful know that time is off the essence as slipping too far behind holders Barcelona could prove fateful. Two-time defending champions, the Catalunian club lost only one match last season. Madrid's La Liga fate will not be decided in the coming weeks, but the theme of campaign must be earning results while still coming together as a team.

The defence was improved, but not flawless. Balls played into the area, especially those to the Mallorcans being marked by Marcelo (who continues to show he is not a high quality left back), found unmarked men too often. The additions of Carvalho and Mourinho's tactics demonstrated Los Blancos' improvements throughout the majority of the game as Madrid's backline played with the sense of purpose that seemed to be missing last year.

Eerily similar to a season ago, Madrid dominated possession and created a plethora of chances only to leave points on the field. Higuain and Ronaldo both took too many touches one-on-one with the keeper as the visitors bombarded the goal, poised to take all three points in the season opener. It wouldn't be as Mallorca held tough thanks to stout defending and some missed chances from the visitors, including a very cheeky back heel volley from the Portuguese international. Creativity is one thing but in the waning minutes of a nil-nil match, Madrid fans must be wondering what he was thinking.

Jose Mourinho tenure as Madrid boss off to a 'not-so-special' start ©GettyImages

Canales, Di Maria, Ozil and Khedira made their Madrid debuts at the ONI Estadi, the Germans as substitutes in the 59th and 70th minutes, respectively. Khedira looked to score his first Madrid goal after beating Dudu Aouate to ball in the air; however, the keeper's pressure forced the attempt off target. Aouate was the man of the match, producing a gaggle of fine saves to keep Mallorca on terms with the capital side club.

An opening match draw is nothing to worry about as Mourinho's Madrid is still coming together as a unit; nevertheless, the news Monday that Cristiano will be sidelined up to three weeks is a bit unsettling. Madrid survived an injury spell from the Portugal star last season but with Kaka already out, it is not an ideal start to the campaign. The international break will allow Ronaldo some time to rest with Mourinho hopefully that Ronaldo's ankle will keep him out only the home opener versus Osasuna on the 12th and Madrid's champions league opener against Ajax the following Tuesday.

Trite as it may be, this campaign is a marathon not a sprint. Some Barca faithful may be quick to point to Sunday's result as the reason why the league title will return to the Camp Nou, the improvements already showing underneath 'The Special One's' direction should have the Catalan giants and the rest of Europe a little preoccupied.


Posted by mark lewis on 08/31/2010

tell me,as a real fan,how do you think it will go with mourinho this season,do you think he can deliver the style the fans demand?.

Posted by José M. Domínguez on 09/01/2010

I am sorry to state that the problem with Real
Madrid is Cristiano Ronaldo. He is a magnificent
player but he takes only, he does not give. He has
not enrolled in the team's technical action. In the
first season performance he has not been able to
improve his last year deficiencies. Perhaps Ronando thinks he is thee number one in the squad and he
should wait for the other team members assistance.
He has showed some constant clumsiness in his play
not admissible in his expected performance. Sorry
for the club.

Posted by dennis on 09/01/2010

first game lets all take a deep breath... will be fine...

Posted by Zulquar on 09/01/2010

I fail to see the ominous beginnings to the Mourinho years? Unless you mean ominously good :) This Real Madrid is very much a team in transition and the Mallorca much just validated that. Mourinho said so himself. That said, Jose is not always to be trusted. He hailed the defensive structure although to me, it seemed like on a number of occasions Real were just barely holding on and needed last ditch interventions to keep out Mallorca, not necessarily the best attacking force in the world.

Also, Real looked much better with Oezil and Khedira on the pitch. Both are very dynamic players, constantly moving and creating room, which is what makes them so dangerous. This is very different from Ronaldo, who is not really the kind of player who likes to be part of too many elaborate passing moves.

All in all though, if Real had taken even one-third of their chances, it could well have been a rout. That said, Mallorca too had their chances, so even stevens

Posted by jose on 09/01/2010

i am a real fan, but i bet barca are still more of a unit than madrid. morinho needs more time at madrid before he can carry trophies to the bernabeu. he can only beat barca by having a strong defence which he has not built at madrid yet.hope its not wrong timing for the special one.

Posted by Michael on 09/03/2010

I just wonder what would happen to Morinho if he fails to win any trophies this season at Real.

Would the club keep him ,or would they look else where.

Posted by JTex13 on 09/04/2010

i feel that marcelo is a whole lot better on the left wing/midfielder. take a chance on arbeloa again. though it is true that CR7 has his head in the clouds.

Posted by demola on 09/05/2010

Trust me Jose is the man Real Madrid Madrid haters b/c Jose is going to surprise you all.
I trust Jose.

Posted by emmanuel on 09/06/2010

i believe morinho is a good coach let just give him time.And the team have to work on the striking force

Posted by salis Umar on 09/07/2010

Mourinho will surely lead real Madrid to success,he just needs the time to do so.

Posted by Stanley Tarfa on 09/09/2010

Jose, you are too good as a coach, but winning trophies this very season, forget it.

Posted by rendal on 09/10/2010

jose should keep kaka at madrid with he and ronaldo. along with the rest of madrid to win titles for years to come.

Posted by Willice Dotto on 09/10/2010

time factor counts. give jose a break b/c its too early to start madrid haters. jose should keep christiano,kaka & marcelo.

Posted by Elia Kangumbe on 09/10/2010

Mourinho never failed because he is clever.Give him time to build a Real Madrid.He did it with chelsea and Inter.He can build a strong team which the next coach will just come in and enjoy success. Look at chelsea and inter,most players there are his troops...HAAAA!!! wait and see the team Real will have after a year or two.....

Posted by kunle Owolohun on 09/10/2010

I believe Mourinho is a successful coach and one of the best coaches in the world. I've no doubt in my mind that he's going to succeed @ Realmadrid.

Posted by Drymnrae on 12/29/2011

I'm sure the best for you suprisely for promotion code

  Post your comment
Email Address:
characters left