In a match that was clearly about revenge for Valencia, Real Madrid managed to stand firm against the physical onslaught and come away with the needed result. While Cristiano Ronaldo, pestered and hit all night by various players, came away clean from the match, Iker Casillas was actually injured by his own player.
Yes, Jose Mourinho got to do his favorite thing in the world – pull Casillas off and let Antonio Adan play, and concede another goal. Not really his fault. Real Madrid didn’t come to win the match, they just came to play and let it pass as peacefully as possible. Valencia got most of the chances and also quite a few cheap shots at Real Madrid players. Somehow, no one from he hosts was sent off, while Real Madrid players couldn’t stand back to the provocations and retaliated, causing two red cards to be pulled out towards Fabio Coentrao and Angel Di Maria.
This is Real Madrid this season – a team that can bring out the best from it’s players one match, once in a while, but can’t follow it up with another jaw dropping performance. Mourinho claims the league is over; all that matters now is the Copa Del Rey and the Champions League. Real Madrid did come out with its strongest lineup against Valencia, but it didn’t play like winning and putting on a show really mattered. They made their proclamation a few days earlier with the 5-0 win.
Instead of getting prepared for what might be a double Clasico (if Barcelona get by Malaga in the second leg), it’s again, all about the drama, with some newspapers claiming that both Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos claim that if Mourinho isn’t gone by the end of the season they won’t stay with the club. It does sound logical for the two to say something like this in private conversations, maybe with some journalists friends, but hard to believe anything you hear these days about the inside war of power at the club.
How will these news affect Real Madrid? How will they affect Mourinho? A man known to hold a grudge isn’t the biggest fan of Casillas and Ramos anyway, and they aren’t of his. Still, not all rumors give life to a new world order. Iker Casillas is injured, at least for a short while, so maybe this will be an excuse for Mourinho to push Adan back into the lineup, hoping the second-string goalkeeper starts picking up a clean sheet or two.
Not having anyone injured after such a battleground of a match is almost like another win. Losing any more players with the Champions League so close and a potential Clasico on the horizon as well would have been too much. Cristiano Ronaldo was targeted again and again by Valencia players, but it takes quite a lot to bring him down, at least for more than a few seconds. Lose him, and Jose Mourinho can forget about everything he still wants to achieve before he goes out looking for a new job.