Moody Mourinho looks to cure Madrid's premature ejection by beating Spurs
JosÃÂ© Mourinho is looking mean and moody on the front cover of MondayÃ¢ÂÂs edition of AS. Then again, the Madrid manager is always looking mean and moody. But in this particular photograph it looks as if Mourinho had spent the past two months living next door to The Libertines in their drug-addled pomp and is about to blast the bandÃ¢ÂÂs front door down with a shotgun.
Scowling, unshaven and with his arms crossed, Mourinho is being backed up on the photograph by Xabi Alonso and Alvaro Arbeloa, two former Scousers who also with arms crossed, looking stern. ItÃ¢ÂÂs only Ricardo Carvalho who lets the Real Madrid side down, looking sheepish to the right of the frame with a spooky grin like a pre mind-enhanced Lawnmower man.
Ã¢ÂÂDonÃ¢ÂÂt leave us on our own!Ã¢ÂÂ cries the banner in AS, in yet another attempt to get the Bernabeu to make some noise - Grooverider whistle posse and all - in the Champions League. The same approach from the marketing department was attempted before the last sixteen clash with Lyon and it seemed to work, so the club is going for it again for TottenhamÃ¢ÂÂs visit.
Ã¢ÂÂTis true that the Bernabeu can be a tough crowd for the home side in the best of times, but there is extra pressure now, due to the clubÃ¢ÂÂs premature ejection from the title race with the defeat against Sporting on Saturday evening.
Although the power of Florentino PÃÂ©rez sees Mourinho protected from the kind of treatment dished out to Manuel Pellegrini when he failed in the Copa del Rey and Champions League last season - two crimes the Chilean is still being punished for - The Special One is very much expected to get past a beatable team like Spurs to reach the semi-finals and face Barcelona.
Yet during MondayÃ¢ÂÂs press conference Mourinho claims it was Spurs who would be under the most pressure in the quarter-final clash, as Madrid have already won the title nine times compared to TottenhamÃ¢ÂÂs zero.
The two times Champions League winner appears to have already moved on from SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs disappointment in la Liga and reminded everyone present that it was this competition that Ã¢ÂÂwas the most important tournament in the world for clubsÃ¢ÂÂ. Ã¢ÂÂHow many times have you played a quarter-final?Ã¢ÂÂ asked Mourinho to his side-kick for the afternoon, Gonzalo HiguaÃÂn. Ã¢ÂÂNoneÃ¢ÂÂ was the sheepish reply from the Argentinean who made his return to football at the weekend after five months out with a back injury.
While Mourinho was his usual tense, snappy self, Harry Redknapp couldnÃ¢ÂÂt have been happier as he had his usual jolly jape with the press at the Santiago Bernabeu three hours later.
When asked about how his counterpart would react to SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs loss against Sporting and the end of his 150 match unbeaten home league run, the Spurs boss couldnÃ¢ÂÂt contain his glee at the notion. Ã¢ÂÂHe knows how the rest of us feel sometimes on Saturday night,Ã¢ÂÂ chuckled Redknapp, Ã¢ÂÂletÃ¢ÂÂs hope itÃ¢ÂÂs a bad week for him.Ã¢ÂÂ
And the Madrid managerÃ¢ÂÂs hints earlier in the day that Ronaldo wonÃ¢ÂÂt be fit for Tuesday night despite being in squad held no salmon for the Spurs man. Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂd be happy if he wasnÃ¢ÂÂt playing, but I know heÃ¢ÂÂs playing.Ã¢ÂÂ
The difference in the aura given off by the two managers the day before the game couldnÃ¢ÂÂt have been more vast. Mourinho was closed, tense and defensive. Redknapp was relaxed, open, and more than a little dazzling with only the pressure of Ã¢ÂÂplaying wellÃ¢ÂÂ the following evening on his mind.
The sentiments of their coaches could well be matched by the approaches of their sides in the quarter-final tie.
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By Conor Pope
By Conor Pope