Broken Record

by Willie Gannon

Jose Mourinho’s nine year, 150 games unbeaten home record stretching all the way back to March 16 2002 came to an end on April 2 2011 after Sporting Gijon beat his Real Madrid team 1-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The record, which started all the way back in 2002 when Mourinho was manager of FC Porto in Portugal was one of the longest running records in football. The last team to beat a Mourinho coached side was Beira-Mar way back in February 2002.

The result comes as a great shock to Madrid and effectively ends their distant hopes of displacing Barcelona as La Liga champions for yet another year and leaves Real Madrid with the Champions League as their priority for the rest of the season.

When Sporting Gijon travelled to the Bernabeu for this few would have expected the Rojiblancos to end Real’s 100 percent home record this season. La Liga wise Real had won 14 from 14 heading into tonight’s match and 23 from 23 in all competitions.

However, despite all the kudos Mourinho earns for his ability to manipulate the media towards his agenda and away from his teams performances, the seeds for this defeat were planted in Week 4 of this season when the Portuguese accused Manolo Preciado of “gifting the game” to Barcelona.

He went on to infer that Preciado had fielded a weakened team by saying “Sporting have played a match with many reserves,” during the unlucky 1-0 defeat.
The inflammatory comments were like a red rag to a bull and in fighting fire with fire Preciado hit back at Mourinho.

“Who the f**k is this guy? He said that we gifted the game to Barcelona? Maybe it was in the heat of the moment but he has repeated it since.”

“If he said as a joke, I don’t find it funny. If he said it to wind up Barcelona, it won’t work.”

“But if he really means it then he is a swine and a bad colleague.”

Preciado then went on to say “I don’t like Mourinho, and I’ll say it to his face.”

The last time the two teams met was a bad tempered affair with Real scraping past thanks to a solitary late strike from Gonzalo Higuain.

That defeat obviously did not dissipate any of Gijon’s ill feelings towards Madrid or their much fabled manager though because they travelled to the capital fully intent on ruining Los Blancos season and Mourinho’s famous home record.

Profligate finishing combined with counter attacking excellence provided the key to Real Madrid’s goal and in the 79th minute Miguel de las Cuevas scored the goal that will guarantee that he becomes a staple part of any soccer table quiz from now on.

In the end Madrid threw everything at Gijon but could not find a way through. One complaint about Mourinho, especially during his time at Chelsea, was that if the game was going against him he would resort to using long ball tactics and lumping men forward as he did not seem to have a plan b in his arsenal.

This seemed to be the case here as Madrid bombarded the Rojiblancos penalty area for the last ten minutes but to no avail.

A recanting Mourinho praised Gijon after the game.

Gijón “defended, defended and defended,” he said. “They had one chance and they scored one goal. I praised them because they fought a lot and they fought to try to have luck on their side.

“We had four, five, six chances to score and we couldn’t. That’s football and tomorrow’s another day.”

Indeed it is.

Mourinho’s record started all the way back on the 16-March-2002 with a 0-0 draw against lowly Alverca who finished bottom of the Portuguese Primeira League that season as Jose managed to guide Porto to a respectful third place finish.

Few would have thought then that one of the greatest records of modern sports was born there or that Mourinho would go on to become one of the greatest managers of the modern era.

That defeat in to Beira-Mar is coupled to the fact that 2002 was also the last year that Mourinho failed to win a trophy in his career.

His trophy haul over the last nine years is incredible to say the least.

Porto (2002–2004)

* 2003 Primeira Liga
* 2003 Taça de Portugal
* 2003 UEFA Cup
* 2003 Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira
* 2004 Primeira Liga
* 2004 UEFA Champions League

Chelsea (2004–2007)

* 2005 FA Premier League
* 2005 League Cup
* 2005 FA Community Shield
* 2006 Premier League
* 2007 League Cup
* 2007 FA Cup

Internazionale (2008–2010)

* 2008 Supercoppa Italiana
* 2009 Serie A
* 2010 Serie A
* 2010 Coppa Italia
* 2010 UEFA Champions League

The record of 150 unbeaten home games stretched across nine years, one month and ten days includes numerous trophies and most significantly includes two trebles in two different countries. It started back in March 2002, 38 games (W36–D2) with Porto, 60 games (W46–D14) with Chelsea, 38 games (W29–D9) with Internazionale and 14 games (W14-D0) with Real Madrid.

Mourinho is right to say that “football is football and that tomorrow’s another day.” However, it is worth noting that his last home defeat coincided with the last season he went trophy less.

Will he last at Real Madrid if lightening strikes twice?

Many would say, no…

2 Responses

  1. Paul Stoller says:

    Some record but it’s quite disappointing that La Liga is pretty much already sorted so early on.

    Although we have the Copa Del Rey to look forward to, the clasico no longer has quite the same value.

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