I’m just the messenger, SoccerMom takes over after the jump.
So here’s a question for y’all.
You are the coach of a brilliant passing side, with players great of heart but small of stature, with a few injured stars left to twinkle in the stands.
You are about to face off with your nemesis, a coach who — regardless of the nature of the competition itself, just as long as the match is against you — routinely parks as many as 8 men behind the half-pitch mark, just to lay in wait for your MiniMen to dare crash the gate. He’s got a galaxy of superstars too, but they’re healthy and tend to hang out on the bench rather than the bleachers.
Please consider, also, that another strategy of said nemesis is to bleat and moan about referree decisions in press conferences. Oh, he’s a pathological narcissist with a persecution complex to be sure, but he’s not stoopid, either. He doesn’t want to make your team feel bad, or his fans feel better. He wants to upset the officials, to put their nerves on edge, to make them split-second guess before spittle touches whistle, What did I see? Do I exhale? Should I make this call?
Ah, do, too, ruminate: This pathological narcissist, with a persecution complex, a dominance of defensive tactics and a lockerroom full of multimillion-euro superstars with mouths as big as their muscles … well, he better pony up some silver draped in royal white this season, or he’s gonna lose his job.
You are destined to meet this man on the pitch in as many as four games in as many weeks. You, with your twisted ankles and muscle aches and spinal-disk slips. You, who has to look twice at your bench mid-match: Are they all just short men, or are you really short men?
What, in all likelihood, is the big ‘strategy’ that Barça was chided to ‘change their style’ for? Mou didn’t want to park a bus — he wanted to pitch a white-picket fence — with cleats. A real Madrid Thicket, if you will.
So really, is it smart, is it tactical, is it even ethical to know, deep in the marrow of your narrow, well-proportioned little bones, that Mourinho is going to walk into the bowels of the Bernabeu and tell his players straight-up and out-loud, “Take them out.” After all, what does he have to lose? He spends half the season in the stands anyway. Is he going to face tough questions at some press conference? Are people going to whine that he’s not a nice person, once you get to know him?
Or is it excusable — is it smart — is it necessary, to say, “All right, we know what we’re up against. A nasty coach and a frustrated team and a nervous ref. He is counting on bringing the pain. Not the ‘gain’ kind of ‘pain’. Real pain. Real, excruciating, end-your-season-if-not-your-career-if-you’re-lucky pain.
“We do what we do, and we do it well. We will do that. But.”
(Now looks at Alves. Then Sergi. Just a look. Then keeps looking around. Just looking at everyone, you know, making good eye contact with each player before the Big Game.)
Meaning: You feel a breeze blowing Madridward on your leg hair, you fall like a rotten scaffold, you hear me?
Forza Barça i visca Pep.
I also implore you all to check out this post. It’s an unbiased report analyzing Wolfgang Stark’s performance. I say unbiased, because it’s a referee from Hong Kong who does it, not a cule or Madridista, and he talks about all the incidents.
Next is a nice little post from Graham Hunter for thisislondon.co.uk.
The nonsense goes on as we’ve gone “Oh Mou, you did not just say that” and have filed a complaint against them to UEFA’s disciplinary commitee while EE have gone “Barca are cheating divers!” and filed a complaint against us to UEFA’s disciplinary committee.
I am ignoring all the pettiness, instead watching this video again and again and again, courtesy of MessiBarcaNL
You make me so proud, Leo!
And also, this: