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Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Victor R. Caivano/AP/Press Association Images
# Five-Star
Comical Mourinho denies El Clasico humiliation
Barca teach the Madrid boys a lesson in a memorable Gran Clasico.

NOW THAT WAS special, Jose.

Bitter rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid met at the Nou Camp in a much-hyped, first El Clasico of the season last night. If you didn’t catch it, watch it back.

If you did see, watch it back anyway.

After Messi’s chip hit the post, Xavi gave Barca the lead with a lob after the ball deflected into his path. Barca went two goals ahead when Pedro poked in a David Villa cross.

Two Messi passes set up Villa for the third and fourth goals, with Jeffran’s late strike rubbing salt into Real’s wounds, before Sergio Ramos was sent off.

Though Messi didn’t score, he was at his Pro-Evo best.

Mourinho for his part has never tasted a defeat this heavy and he cut a forlorn figure on the bench throughout the second half.

He denied afterwards that the rout was a humiliation. He said:

One team played very good, one team very bad. One deserved to win and one deserved to lose.

Last week, we had a point lead, and now we have two points less. I’ve always said that the club [Barcelona] is a finished product and Madrid are a long way.

I came here last year with Inter and we had a loss, and then we ended up making the final of the Champions League.

Humiliated? No. It’s easy to deal with this loss, we just weren’t good enough.

According to Madrid paper AS, Bernabeu chief Jorge Valdano later slated his manager for his first league defeat with Real. Valdano said:  “He couldn’t bring a major correction to the game. Today he didn’t even leave the bench.”

But according to the Guardian’s Sid Lowe, Mourinho knew exactly the choices he faced after those early goals – even if he was then indecisive.

When you go 2-0 down you have two choices. You can say ‘let’s leave it at this’ or you can take a risk and try to get into the game.

They are very quick and dangerous on the counterattack and we paid for that. When they scored the third, the game was over.

I knew we had no chance. We felt impotent. I am disappointed because I expected more but at that point all I wanted was for us not to lose our balance on the pitch.

Five-nil of course has special connotations in this fixture, having popped up several times previously. This is January ’94.


And the reverse, 364 days later:

H/T Off The Ball

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