Eurozone: Mourinho puzzled by goal drought while Barça thrive

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The Independent Football

Jose Mourinho still has a lot of credit to use up at Madrid, but he's getting through it at a disturbing rate. Last season, Real scored 16 goals in their first five games, conceding two. This season they have managed just six with one against. They now trail Barcelona by one point in the league despite the fact that their great rivals have had a far more difficult set of opening fixtures.

Barça were singing in the rain in Bilbao on Saturday night – winning 3-1 in San Mames – while Madrid just made a lot of noise in Levante and came away with only a goalless draw against the team with the worst defensive record in the league. Mourinho, who looks set to recall French striker Karim Benzema for tomorrow night's Champions League away fixture against Auxerre – who still have not won in the French league this season – was at a loss to explain the goal drought.

"If you don't score you don't win," he said. "We have now lost four points away from home because we have not been able to score. It is my only worry."

Sporting director Jorge Valdano gave Mourinho the limpest of shows of support after the game. "We are having trouble finding the goals. Last year it was not a problem and this year it is proving more difficult," he said, making reference to the way Mourinho's predecessor made a much better start to last season.

Cristiano Ronaldo, whose earnings in one season dwarf Levante's entire wage bill, failed to add to his one goal so far this season. He also clashed with ex-Chelsea full-back Asier Del Horno off the ball in the first half, causing Levante coach Luis Garcia to protest inside Jose Mourinho's technical area. Barcelona beat Athletic with goals from Seydou Keita, Xavi and Sergi Busquets but had David Villa sent off late in the second half for punching Carlos Gurpegui.

Despite Barcelona's victory, it is Manchester United's Champions League rivals tomorrow night who are top of La Liga. Valencia have dropped only two points this season and swept aside Sporting Gijon with goals from Roberto Soldado and Mehmet Topal in the first ten minutes of their Saturday night game.



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