Ranting Mourinho fast running out of friends

The empty chair in the press area next to LLL never stood a chance.

Kicked repeatedly when Pepe was sent off, kicked repeatedly after Leo Messi’s two goals saw Barca place one foot in next month's Wembley final and then booted with not inconsiderable vigour off its hinges at the final whistle by the irate and increasingly drunk Madrid fan sat behind the blog. The sozzled supporter was clearly not at all happy with what had unfolded at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night.

Once again, brave, plucky, strikerless, barely-moving-out-of-their-own-half-in-the-first-45-minutes Real Madrid had been foiled by UEFA’s ongoing plot to make Barcelona the bestest team in all the land and Champions of Europe forever and ever.

That was the narrative spouted by José Mourinho after the match, and a rather rattled Mou caused gasps of both disbelief and excitement as he launched into a spectacular rant concerning Barcelona’s supposed favoured status with UEFA, complete with shoulder shrugging aplenty and Robert de Niro facial grimacing.

“Por qué?” asked the Special One repeatedly, “Why?”

“Football should be played with the same rules for everyone with the best team winning,” argued Mourinho, who is perhaps redefining ‘winning’ as ‘grinding out a goalless draw in front of your own fans’.

While seeing Mourinho complain of Pepe-hating plots against himself and in favour of Barcelona is no great surprise, what really got the juices flowing was the Madrid manager's rather mean-spirited comments regarding Barca’s Champions League win of 2009. “Pep Guardiola is a fantastic coach, but he won a Champions League that would have shamed me due to the scandal at Stamford Bridge. If they win this one it will be after a scandal at the Bernabeu.”

This is just one of many open musings made by Mourinho that have seen Barcelona call an emergency board meeting to discuss whether the matter should be taken up with UEFA.

Unsurprisingly, seeing the Madrid manager so unsettled by the 2-0 defeat that he has already written off his team’s chances of a comeback has moved the Barcelona press to a state of near arousal, with Mundo Deportivo’s front cover proclaiming “ecstasy” after the result.

Writing inside, Santi Nolla also has a solution to Mourinho’s red card “pour qué” conundrum. “It’s very easy to answer: it’s because of Mourinho. The Portuguese coach gets his footballers to play to the limit every time against Barcelona.”

Sport’s doberman of destruction - he of the Taliban of Madrid claims - Lluís Mascaró, is understandably in a sprightly mood and declares that El Clásico III was “class against power, brilliance against vulgarity.” “Barça managed last night in the Bernabeu to win their passport to the Champions League final and shut Mourinho’s mouth.”

There’s more sympathy for Mourinho and Madrid in the local papers. But only just. The main support for the club’s plight comes from Tomás Roncero, who fumes that “in the same way the Villarato is working in Spain, it’s the Platinato in Europe.”

However, that’s to be expected from the maddest of Madridistas. There’s criticism for both sides from AS editor, Alfredo Relaño, who fusses over what was largely a disappointing spectacle filled with pushing, shoving and more than a little diving. “Two such excellent teams are transmitting an inappropriate image in these games.”

LLL was expecting Marca to be fuming over Pepe’s sending off. Although that is the case to a degree, now that former director Eduardo Inda has left the paper a semblance of balance has been restored that sees Marca being particularly forceful in its criticism of Mourinho’s tactics and formation for the semi-final clash.

“It was a mediocre Madrid before and after the sending off of Pepe,” according to the paper’s match report. It was a comment echoed by Thursday’s editorial which boomed that “the huge irritation provided by a mistake of this size must not serve as an excuse to forget the fearful line-up set up by Mourinho.”

In José Mourinho’s mind the Spanish FA, Spanish League and UEFA are all out to get him. He really is in trouble if the local press have turned on him too. After all, it could be someone upstairs who is next to take aim.