Hu­mil­i­ated Real seek re­demp­tion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

JOSE MOUR­INHO must pick him­self and his Real Madrid team up from Mon­day's 5-0 hu­mil­i­a­tion by Barcelona at Camp Nou as his side de­fend their 100% home record against Va­len­cia to­day.

Real went into the “Cla­sico” un­beaten and a point ahead of Barcelona, how­ever, the cham­pi­ons gave a foot­ball les­son to their bit­ter ri­vals and Mour­inho’s first de­feat in charge of Real is the biggest of his glit­ter­ing ca­reer.

“It wasn't the biggest hu­mil­i­a­tion of my ca­reer but yes, it was the biggest de­feat of my ca­reer be­cause I have never lost 5-0,” said Mour­inho. “How­ever, the league isn’t over and it will be a ti­tle race right un­til the end of the sea­son and we will be up there.”

Mour­inho has been un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally quiet in the press this week fol­low­ing the painful de­feat and has to pre­pare for an­other tough match at home to fifth-placed Va­len­cia.

Madrid had the best de­fence in the league prior to the Barcelona maul­ing and Mour­inho will be des­per­ate to tighten up again at the back al­though the Por­tuguese is hin­dered by the loss of de­fend­ers Ser­gio Ramos and Ri­cardo Car­valho through sus­pen­sion.

Ar­gen­tine striker Gon­zalo Higuain has slipped a disc in his back and may be out for up to two months while top-scorer Cris­tiano Ron­aldo is a doubt with an an­kle in­jury.

Va­len­cia are eight points be­hind Real and goal­keeper Ce­sar Sanchez, who started the 2002 Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal for Real ahead of Iker Casil­las, be­lieves his old team are a wounded an­i­mal ready to bite back.

“Real know how to pick them­selves up from painful de­feat and I am sure they will be re­ally psyched up for this match,” said Ce­sar.

Barcelona have made their best league start in their his­tory with 34 points from a pos­si­ble 39 and the Real rout – which made it 13 goals in their last two league matches – moved them two points clear of their ri­vals at the top of the Span­ish first di­vi­sion.

“Los­ing a match where they (Real) had such high ex­pec­ta­tions is a big set­back for them and a morale boost for us,” said Barcelona mid­fielder Xavi. “The 6-2 at the San­ti­ago Bern­abeu was per­fect but this tops that.”

It was a fifth con­sec­u­tive Cla­sico win for Barcelona and their coach Pep Guardi­ola who main­tained his 100% record in the fix­ture, and now wants his side to push on and con­tinue their flaw­less away record with a win over Osasuna to­day.

Barcelona dropped points in Pam­plona last sea­son with a 1-1 draw at Osasuna and Guardi­ola will not want a slipup against mid-ta­ble op­po­nents hav­ing put them­selves in the ti­tle box seat with their em­phatic Cla­sico win.

“We have to be on top of Leo (Messi), Xavi and (An­dres) Ini­esta and not let them breathe,” said Osasuna striker Wal­ter Pan­di­ani. “Madrid let them breathe and al­lowed them to play.” – Sapa-AFP

THRASHED: Jose Mour­inho

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