House-training Mourinho stays silent about the silence
For about 10 minutes every day, La Liga Loca gets to be JosÃÂ© Mourinho. Well, the JosÃÂ© Mourinho of 10 minutes or so during MadridÃ¢ÂÂs Champions League press conference ahead of Tuesday's game against APOEL Nicosia.
LLL is currently teaching a puppy not to bark or reach up desperately with a paw when the blog is trying to eat its din-dins. If puppy follows the rules, toes the line, plays it square then she is rewarded with a tiny tit-bit. Sometimes.
The look on the blogÃ¢ÂÂs face during this daily spell is both very, very serious, of course, but with the hint of a cheeky grin about to break out because of the whole amusing nature of the situation and the wonderful, exhilarating feeling of power.
That was exactly the look the Madrid manager sported during MondayÃ¢ÂÂs media scrum. The Spanish contingent were sat before him, knowing that if they did the equivalent of a dog bark during dinner and asked anything about referees, transfer rumours, his future Ã¢ÂÂ anything tasty and scrumptious, basically Ã¢ÂÂ then nothing would be thrown from MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs plate. Behave, curb their natural yapping natures, and maybe their treat-dispensing target would throw them a morsel.
But, as ever, one or two couldnÃ¢ÂÂt help themselves and asked Mourinho about the story of Ronaldo being sold to Chelsea, who was responsible for the clubÃ¢ÂÂs media silence and whether he felt Real Madrid were being persecuted. To no avail: all probes were blocked by the clubÃ¢ÂÂs media officer with a cry of Ã¢ÂÂChampions League only!Ã¢ÂÂ
Mourinho looked like he was just desperate to break into a giant grin at the Spanish mediaÃ¢ÂÂs pain and anguish at those moments when self-control was lost, although Marca interpreted the whole situation as being tense rather than being enjoyable for the Madrid boss.
The only tasty treat thrown out by Mourinho was the statement that he wasnÃ¢ÂÂt behind the idea of the media silence that began after WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs Villarreal clash and continued before and after SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs victory over Real Sociedad that saw neither coach nor players talking to the media.
"Hang on, we can't BOTH be ventriloquistsÃ¢ÂÂ¦"
The fun part was that Mourinho was contradicting what Director of Institutional Relations Emilio ButragueÃÂ±o had said the day before when revealing that Ã¢ÂÂit was a stance from the technical team and dressing room that we respect, and was taken with the wise idea of avoiding building up more tension.Ã¢ÂÂ
For the rest of the conference, Mourinho was sweetness and light in praising APOEL and the opposition coach Ã¢ÂÂ until a journalist asked Sami Khedira if the footballers would be allowed to speak to the media after the match. At this point, Mourinho got up to leave, the German midfielder said that he was Ã¢ÂÂsorry, IÃ¢ÂÂm only a footballer, I just playÃ¢ÂÂ and followed his boss out the door.
It looks like there's still an awful lot of house training to be done at Real Madrid. But one man, for one, is enjoying the experience.