Of all the clubs in Europe the one least known for having patience with losers is Real Madrid. The expectation on Mourinho is to immediately displace Barcelona as champions and more importantly win a tenth European Cup. More than any other club Madrid holds the big cup as part of its identity. The whole club is obsessed with one goal: ‘La Decima’, the tenth. However, this may be a season where madridistas have to suck it up and accept that even the best coach on earth (believe me, saying that isn’t pleasant) needs more than one season.
Already Madrid have made an erratic start to the season, the opening day draw with Malaga only forgotten due to Barcelona being beaten by Hercules at home. The game against Ajax on Wednesday was peculiar to watch to those familiar with typical Mourinho teams. A great game which could either have ended 2-2 or 10-0. Madrid deserved their victory but this wasn’t the machine-like performances that Mourinho crafted at Chelsea and towards the end of his tenure at Inter. The ruthlessness wasn’t there in front of goal, Ronaldo in particular being wasteful and Madrid were defensively suspect. Ajax had more than their fair share of chances to take something from the game. The one thing that is supposedly almost guaranteed with Jose is you won’t concede many.
Critics will suggest I’m being too harsh. After all, three games in and Madrid have conceded a total of zero goals. However, although they didn’t concede against Ajax this was much more due to luck and the class of Casillas rather than Madrid defending well as a unit. Whether Mourinho has the time this season to impress his vision on this team is questionable. The Inter of 2008/9 was nowhere near to the treble-winning side a year later. Yes, a number of superb players were brought in over that summer and yes, this Real squad is (on paper) even better than the side Jose left behind but there was more than just the squad that generated the success in Milan. Mourinho needed to make the side his own, get them playing his way. This Madrid side is evidently not doing that yet.
Whatever you personally feel about the Portuguese, he virtually guarantees success wherever he goes and Madrid will prove no different if the fans and the board show the faith in keeping him even if he finishes this season empty-handed. The terraces have already shown they don’t particularly care for the man or the way he plays football but there is a grudging respect, based on the idea that, while it might not be pretty it’ll be effective. Now is the time for a small amount of sanity in the Bernabeu, to realise that if Mourinho doesn’t provide the success, who else is there to take on Pep’s Golden Boys? Real Madrid has the feeling of a whole community collectively biting its tongue. For the sake of the team they need to keep on doing so, possibly through another barren season.