Cartoon of the Day: The Lonely One – Mourinho feels the heat in Madrid

Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho continues to feel the pressure after the club’s slow start to the new league campaign, which saw them beaten 1-0 by Sevilla in their last outing.

The side have now lost two of their opening four league fixtures as they fell eight points behind rivals Barcelona at this crucial early stage of the season.

Mourinho’s charges have started this term in indifferent form as they look set to host Premier League champions Manchester City at home in their opening Champions League fixture on home soil, looking to put to bed rumours of unrest.

The Lonely One – Mourinho feels the heat in Madrid

'Mourinho comments do not help Real Madrid' – Calderon slams coach

Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon feels that head coach Jose Mourinho was wrong to criticise his team in the aftermath of Los Blancos’ 1-0 defeat to Sevilla.

The flamboyant coach stated that he “does not have a team” following the surprise loss, while also voicing his unhappiness with his side’s collective spirit.

However, Calderon believes that the Madrid players could just as easily complain about Mourinho in the current situation.

“Mourinho’s comments don’t help the team in any way. The players could just as easily say that they don’t have a coach right now,” Calderon stated to RAC1.

“It would be better to see these losses as incidents. I imagine that the players are not too happy with Mourinho’s comments.

“I believe that the team is fully committed to the team. The players are giving their all out there on the pitch.”

Madrid have already dropped eight points in the opening weeks of the 2012-13 campaign, and sit only 11th in the Liga table.

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Get your own house in order! Mourinho must motivate Real Madrid instead of winding up Manchester City

By Ben Hayward | Spanish Football Writer

It was hardly the time for bravado. Jose Mourinho‘s claims that Manchester City cannot compete with Real Madrid in terms of history and prestige in Europe may have been close to the teams’ respective realities, but the last thing the Portuguese needs right now is to wind up a dangerous rival he so desperately needs to beat on Tuesday.

Madrid may have won a trophy this term but that is about all they have to draw upon in terms of positives so far. Mourinho has endured his worst start to a league season after seeing his side collect just four points from their opening four fixtures; the Liga champions were already at a low ebb and after Saturday’s loss to Sevilla, the Portuguese struggled to explain exactly why.

Mourinho‘s Madrid have been criticised since the very beginning of his reign, with the reasons ranging from a lack of identity on the pitch, strange selections and a negative tactical approach – particularly in games against Barcelona. Never, though, has a Madrid side coached by Mourinho been accused of lacking intensity, commitment, effort or hunger. Never, that is, until now.

Madrid were outfought in Seville on Saturday and not for the first time this season. The 1-1 draw at home to Valencia on the opening weekend was put down to the extreme heat in the capital and a lack of fitness. But fast forward a month and Madrid look no better than they did on that balmy evening. Defeat at Getafe and now in Seville – either side of an unconvincing 3-0 win at home to Granada – have left Mourinho‘s men eight points adrift of Tito Vilanova’s Barca, barely four weeks into the season.

“We have only played well in the Supercopa,” the Portuguese said on Saturday. Beating Barca over two legs had made madridistas believe that a change of cycle was truly in store, coming as it did on the back of last season’s success in La Liga. But any such plans are currently on the back burner following the side’s dismal displays so far in the Primera Division.

Mourinho admitted he is ultimately responsible, but also sent a stark message to his players on Saturday as he claimed that many of them are far from focused on the job at hand. “There are very few heads who are committed and concentrated, and who have football as the priority in their lives,” he revealed.

And it showed.

Cristiano Ronaldo remains in the eye of the storm after telling reporters of his unhappiness prior to the international break. He was well below his brilliant best on Saturday, failing to truly trouble Andres Palop and unable to beat a Sevilla defender for love nor money – the rumoured reasons behind his suffering in the first place.

Elsewhere, Karim Benzema looks low on confidence after failing to score since May, Marcelo was beaten at will on the left, Mesut Ozil still seems to be on holiday and even ever-reliable Iker Casillas spilled a Jesus Navas shot which led to a corner from which the Sevilla goal arrived – after just 68 seconds.

And there was worse still.

Angel Di Maria was unlucky not to have been sent off and made a lazy – and unsuccessful – attempt to track Piotr Trochowski for the goal, while Gonzalo Higuain missed several clear chances and also escaped a red card for kicking out at Fernando Navarro. An attitude adjustment is now needed.

Worryingly for Madrid, Mourinho appears mystified by his side’s slipshod showings. The Portuguese has only ever coached one team for three full seasons and that was Chelsea, where the former Porto boss led the Blues to back-to-back titles before missing out on the Premier League crown to Manchester United in 2006-07.

There are very few heads who are committed and concentrated, and who have football as the priority in their lives. That makes it tough

Jose Mourinho

That season started slowly as well and Mourinho‘s men never recovered. Perhaps, however, they had failed to recover from the intense fitness drills from his first two campaigns. He is said to squeeze as much as he possibly can from his players in order to implement a game plan which requires optimum fitness, incredible intensity and a tremendous tempo throughout the season. With the bulk of his squad away at Euro 2012 in the summer and again with their respective international teams last week, perhaps they simply have little left in the tank right now. And like Barcelona before them on Saturday, Madrid may have benefited from changes to the starting XI in Seville.

Mourinho has upset his players previously with public criticism of their performances, and his quotes on Saturday are only likely to add to the tension ahead of what is another tough test at home to Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday.

And after questioning City’s calibre and European pedigree, the Portuguese will have given Roberto Mancini’s men all the incentives they need for their trip to the Santiago Bernabeu. But with La Liga looking tricky already and the Champions League his top target in 2012-13, Mourinho now needs to motivate his own players – and he needs to do it fast.

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Real Madrid – Manchester City Preview: Roberto Mancini's men face nine-time European Cup winners

Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has a fully fit squad to pick from going into his side’s first Champions League game of the season, but the rumoured dissatisfaction of star player Cristiano Ronaldo continues to hit the headlines at home and abroad.

The Portuguese manager’s opposite number Roberto Mancini has no fresh injury concerns going into the game, but there are still a number of players who will miss the trip.

Brazilian right-back Maicon could be handed a European debut for his new club after starting against Stoke, with Micah Richards still battling an ankle injury and Pablo Zabaleta nursing a hamstring strain.

Elsewhere, Jack Rodwell may manage to shake off a knee injury in time, while Sergio Aguero could still play some part as he completes an earlier than expected return from his own knee problem.

  • Los Blancos have won this tournament, in its various previous incarnations, more than any other side in Europe, triumphing nine times in the past.
  • However, they last won the Champions League back in 2001-02 under the guidance of current Spain boss Vicente del Bosque.
  • Madrid’s defeat against Sevilla was their second in the league so far, the same number they suffered during the whole of last season on their way to the title.
  • Manchester City are yet to keep a clean sheet so far this season.
  • Sergio Aguero (pictured right) was the club’s top scorer in Europe last season with five goals.
  • Manchester City beat last season’s finalists Bayern Munich 2-0 at home in the group stages. The German outfit went on to knock Real Madrid out at the semi-final stage.
  • Roberto Mancini failed to win a major European trophy during his four-year spell in charge of Italian outfit Inter Milan, whereas his successor Jose Mourinho won the Champions League with them in his second and final year at San Siro.

Mourinho only aiming for qualification from tough Champions League group

Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho is only targeting qualifcation from Uefa Champions League Group D after drawing three fellow domestic league winners from last season.

The reigning Liga champions must overcome Manchester City, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund in order to qualify for the knockout stages and the Los Merengues’ manager has admitted it’s a tough draw.

So tough, in fact, that the Portuguese does not see the value in trying to win the group, believing qualification is acceptable from such difficult circumstances.

“We are talking about a group with the four league champions of four major countries, especially City and Borussia Dortmund,” Mournho told

“And look at Ajax’s history. The aim isn’t to win six games, but to qualify. The points will be shared out a little.”

On the chance to finally secure the coveted 10th European Cup in the club’s history, Los Blancos boss took the chance to lower expectations surrounding his players.

“Real Madrid is the club of the European Cup, looking at their history and the statistics. The only way of seeking the 10th is to play well, and be highly motivated to win.

“But football is beautiful because it’s unpredictable and because sometimes the best team doesn’t win.”