Jose Mourinho blasts Real Madrid to offer Roberto Mancini hope
Madrid manager angry after loss before European opener against Manchester City
However flat Roberto Mancini was feeling after his side's 1-1 draw with Stoke he will have had his spirits lifted by the current malaise engulfing Jose Mourinho, whom he faces at the Bernabeu Stadium tomorrow night.
"What worries me at the moment is that I don't have a team," said the Real Madrid coach, who saw his side slip to 11th in La Liga after a 1-0 defeat at Seville. You have to go back to 1974 for the last time a team started the Spanish season with one win, one draw and two defeats and went on to win the league title, and only one side had ever managed it before then.
Mourinho took two players off at half-time on Saturday in his side's second defeat of the opening four games but said he could have substituted seven. Asked if he thought his team had had a bad first half, he replied: "Just the first half? You are being nice. It was bad from the first minute to the last.
"I changed two players at half-time but I could have changed seven. It is one of the things that you should be allowed to do – change more players. We don't have the concentration and we don't have the mentality to suffer for results. My team played well against Barcelona [in the Spanish Super Cup] but in no other game have they performed. A lot of the players' heads are not properly committed and concentrated on football being the priority, but I am the coach so I must take full responsibility."
Real have problems at both ends of the pitch as the Champions League first group game against Manchester City approaches. Up front Karim Benzema has not scored since last season, firing blanks throughout the European Championship, pre-season and the start of the new season.
At the back they continue to ship the kind of goals Mourinho's teams seldom do, with a basic failure to defend set pieces at the heart of many of those conceded.
"We cannot do any more, or any better work on the training ground on dead-ball situations," Mourinho said. "Every player knows what his job is. Every player knows his responsibility. We have the graphics for the players, we work with them... and then in the very first minute of the game we concede from a corner."
Mourinho's players have vowed to put their awful league form behind them tomorrow night. Defender Sergio Ramos said: "It is strange that after just four games the manager is as unhappy with us as he is and we just cannot get our heads up. We have to do that before the game against Manchester City, which is so important."
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