Can Mourinho Beat Real Madrid In This Year’s UEFA Super Cup?

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Haider Zulfiqar, Pakistan: Jose Mourinho has built a career around winning games he is not supposed to. Yet with this years UEFA Super Cup Final against Real Madrid, it appears to be different–or does it?


The UEFA Super Cup final is breathing down the back of our necks. For UEFA and football fans everywhere, it’ll be a dream match–for in it they’ve got a match between two of the biggest football giants in the world.

Courtesy PicsHouse

Real Madrid–the UEFA Champions League winner for the past two years in a row–are currently the best side in the world by some distance. Manchester United FC, their opponent, is a team that has been well below their standards over the past 3-4 years–yet they have been coming through their transition phase handsomely, and look set to take on most of the top teams in the world.

But can they manage against a side that have been the best for quite some time?

If you were asked to put together a team comprised of only Manchester United and Real Madrid players, you’d probably end up with two United players in it, maybe 3. That speaks volumes of how vastly superior this current Real Madrid side looks on the paper.

If you were to ask me what pins them down as the best team in recent history, I’d simply say: You can’t let them cross. You can’t let them shoot from distance. You can’t press them. You can’t park a bus against them. You can’t play higher up the pitch. You can’t let them come at you on counters full throttle.

Seven heavens. Then how do you beat them?

The thing that comes straight to my mind is not some play style or a club, but the name of a manager who has conquered the impossible at times, and who has made his name through these type of high profile matches–Jose Mourinho.

Here’s a list of few matches and their little details of how he made a name for himself through matches like these:

First match that would come straight into anyone’s mind would be the match that announced him to the football world. Very few would know of him outside of Portugal at that time, but after that famous touchline run at Old-Trafford against Manchester United in Champions League Quarter Final, where Costinha put the ball to net, he broke into the football world–and never looked back. The unfancied Porto FC side went onto create history, winning the UEFA Champions League. It all started on that chilly night in Manchester, as the world started to take notice of this truly ‘special’ manager.

Courtesy ESPN FC

Mourinho’s first trophy in Spain was no less of an exhibition, coming up against probably the greatest Barcelona side of all time–a team in which Real Madrid failed to beat since May 2008. Deploying Pepe in a 3 man mid-field with Khedira and Alonso proved to be a genius move, as the Barcelona side fielded with the likes of Messi, Iniesta, Villa and Xavi just couldn’t break the hole. Mourinho’s approac to the game made the Barcelona side look labored and frustrated throughout the match, as his side’s watertight defense didn’t provide any loopholes for 120 minutes. Cristiano’s bullet header from a Di Maria cross from the left flank in the first half of extra time was the decisive factor of the game.

If anyone is to point out one game that defines Mourinho’s whole managerial career so far, it would be that game against Barcelona in the Champions League semi final second leg with Inter Milan–A game which he himself declares his top accomplishment. Coming up against a vastly superior Barcelona side at the Nou Camp with a two goal advantage in the first leg, Mourinho knew he still had an awful lot to do in order to come away with the victory.

A dramatic red card in the first half hour of the match to Thiago Motta annihilated the fixture. Playing with 10 for more than an hour at the Nou Camp against Barcelona, his side produced a master-class display of discipline and played exactly as he outlined. The match ended up a 1-0 victory in Barcelona’s favor, but the job was done–Inter went to the final with 3-2 aggregate scoreline.

These are only a few of the otherwise dozens of matches of this intensity that Mourinho has managed throughout his career. This time, it’ll be no less.

Not many will put their money on Manchester United for the win–Neither should they. But if there’s one element that’s to their advantage, its him, and don’t be surprised to see him come out on top.

The Real Madrid side, as stated earlier,  is too hard to breakdown and at the same time too hard to stop. Yet on the otherside is the guy who’s made such one legged tie/finals his yard.

Regardless, it will be a dream match and will promise something spectacular as everyone expects. Good luck to both teams. Hope the better side on the night wins.

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