Friday, August 18, 2017

Downcast Mourinho rues luck

Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho was disconsolate after his celebrated nine-year unbeaten run in home games came to an end on Saturday.

Real stunned the San Bernabeu faithful and their manager with a dismal 1-0 loss to lowly Sporting Gijon, a result that all but seals the La Liga title for fierce rivals Barcelona.

The shock defeat also brings to a close Mourinho’s nine-year, 150-match unbeaten league home record as a football manager, a streak that begun at Portuguese club Porto and encompassed spells at Chelsea and Inter Milan.

Mourinho was unable to call on a number of star players for the fixture, including Portuguese ace Cristiano Ronaldo, French goal-machine Karim Benzema and Spanish World Cup winner Xabi Alonso.

Their absence showed as Real played well below their best.

A downcast Mourinho was in no mood to praise Sporting after the game, saying the visitors simply had luck on their side on Saturday.

“Football is football. We had many chances to score one, two, three, four and five metres away from target,” the Portuguese manager said.

“Sporting defended, defended and defended, and then they scored a goal. We had six chances on goal, but we were unlucky. That’s football for you.”

“Our opponent hardly attacked. We didn’t have to pressurise more in attack nor defend more strongly. We simply had to score a goal.”

“My men know they can win or lose. You win and lose one way or another, but you can lose with dignity.”

“We were aware of our limitations before the game. Luck plays a role in this game and our opponent had all of it tonight.”

“We lacked our most creative players and we knew it. Only (Mesut) Ozil was out there. Cristiano, Benzema, Xabi Alonso and Marcelo are our most creative men.”

“Lacking creation against a team that defends fiercely forces you to play a straightforward game.”

Despite the setback, Mourinho is confident Real have the ability to withstand Tottenham when the English Premier League team visits in the Champions League on Tuesday.

“Xabi Alonso will play on Tuesday (against Tottenham in the Champions League) and he’s the only one who can change our style a little,” he said.

“(But) we can earn a different result on Tuesday with the same players.”

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