Furious Madrid press turn on Mourinho after Barça disaster

Given the the feeling among the Madrid-based press that this time Real Madrid manager José Mourinho would finally show Barça who was boss, it’s no great surprise that their reaction to Wednesday's Bernabeu defeat has been relentlessly, unforgivingly brutal.

In particular, two papers who are normally like panting, tail-wagging, eager to please puppy dogs when it comes to Madridismo, have now become a snarling pack of wild beasts. While the feeling among the fans after Madrid’s Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg defeat was merely bored resignation at yet another set back - with only one victory for Madrid in the nine Mourinho vs Guardiola clashes - the vibe in Marca and AS is fury.

A crunching deadline from a late-night finish and a game from which Madrid will have taken little positive sees Thursday’s AS front page lamenting the defeat and another “repertoire of bad behaviour from Pepe.” Tomás Roncero leads the angry mob on the inside pages, asking Mourinho “isn’t it better to die on your feet and play with all your talent than be beaten before the game begins?”

The risk of playing a makeshift defence containing Hamit Altintop at right-back and Ricardo Carvalho - returning from a four month injury lay-off - in the centre of defence was a large one. It may have paid off had Madrid not conceded yet another header from a corner, with Carles Puyol equalising for Barça early in the second half to sap any confidence the Madrid players had gained from Cristiano Ronaldo's first half opener.

However, the gamble to play Pepe in midfield, in a throw-back to last year’s controversial contests, was a whopper - like asking Bruce Banner to travel on the tube at rush hour having missed a night’s sleep. It was a bet which failed spectacularly.

Marca branded Pepe’s pugilistic, polemical performance which peaked with what looked like an intentional stamp on Leo Messi’s hand as “disgraceful”.

“The behaviour of Pepe was intolerable, violent with an excess or aggression and theatrics,” blasted Thursday’s editorial.

The front page bemoans the “Never Ending Story” with Barcelona over recent seasons, with the match report claiming Madrid had “betrayed their history” with Mourinho’s approach to a clash in a competition the Madrid coach had previously dismissed as the least important for his club this term.

Unsurprisingly, the reaction to Madrid, and in particular, Pepe, in the Catalan capital was outrage. Mundo Deportivo lead with the headline “Heroes and Villains”, with Sani Nolla branding Pepe a “public danger”.

“This doesn’t belong in today’s football. It belongs to butchers form the Jurassic era,” continued the columnist.

Sport were a tad more aggressive, with a headline claiming Barça to be “Bleeping Bosses of the Bernabéu,” a reference to Guardiola’s bad-tempered comment about José Mourinho last season. The paper’s most culé columnist, Lluís Mascaró, wasn’t going to let another victory in the Spanish capital go unmentioned, gleefully reporting on “a sporting humiliation that the Bernabeu won’t forget for years. Madrid played in their own stadium with fear, like a small team. Trembling with terror.”

Normally the rival newspapers from the different sides of Spain disagree on the colour of the sky. But for once, they are all united in one concept - this was a very, very bad night for José Mourinho, Pepe and Real Madrid.