Madrid Oktoberfest For Jose Mourinho

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola refers to Jose Mourinho as 'probably the best coach in the world', although Mourinho would no doubt dispute the word 'probably'. Today the Real Madrid boss is named on FIFA's shortlist for manager of the year and is the clear favourite to be crowned king of his profession next month.

After his treble-winning season at Inter, he has had to face Real critics bemoaning his 'negative' football but he has answered them in the best way possible – with his side scoring 16 goals in three league games. Real are enjoying their best start to the season for 19 years and such is the emphatic change from hard-fought victories to royal hammerings that a strange noise could be heard coming from one end of the Bernabeu during last weekend's 6-1 win.

It was the sound of supporters singing the manager's name at a club where players are worshipped; players and the presidents who sign them. Not any more it seems. Real have scored the most and conceded the fewest. They sit at the top of the league and Cristiano Ronaldo has set a scoring pace which would see him hit 47 goals this season should he maintain it.

Pre-Mourinho, the boss's name was not even announced to supporters but now it follows the team line-ups. New signings Angel Di Maria and Mesut Ozil have been outstanding but it is the coach whose name is cheered the loudest before kick-off and it is he who is signing the autographs. For Mourinho it seems there is no honeymoon period followed by a fall to earth. The steady start that precedes a goals explosion about October-time is a pattern established at Inter and Chelsea.

There were two 0-0 draws in Real Madrid's first five games of the season and the purists among the fans were complaining to television schedulers that screening Real games on the same night as Barcelona's was just cruel. But October has brought 18 goals in four games in all competitions, just as the month sparked a sea-change for Chelsea in 2004. After unconvincing wins over Manchester United, Birmingham, Crystal Palace and Southampton, October began with a win over Liverpool and defeat by Manchester City. But on October 23 Blackburn were hammered 4-0 and the goal-rush began.

The first big, convincing win for Inter came in October 2008 with a 4-0 away win over Roma. At Stamford Bridge and at the San Siro, the league was delivered at the end of the first campaign. The Copa del Rey will be the first tournament to be decided in Spain and after two years of Madrid winning nothing Mourinho is believed to be taking it seriously.

A year ago today, his predecessor Manuel Pellegrini's side went down 4-0 to third-tier Alcorcon. The 'mother of all ridicules' was how the Madrid press reported it and Mourinho warned at the weekend that if his players 'did that to him' then they would have an 'X' put next to their name and be 'counted among the dead'.

Related Articles:
El Traductor José Mourinho
The "Real" Revolution Has Been Unleashed!
Jose Mourinho: Reputations Count For Nothing

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