It wasn’t a perfect game for Real Madrid against Atletico at the Copa del Rey final. The Colchoneros performed brilliantly in defense and, although Los Blancos were unlucky, hitting the post three times, they made several important mistakes that brought them to deception.
The blame for many of those mistakes could be attributed to their manager, Jose Mourinho, who had a terrible night and a disappointing goodbye in his –very possibly– last final as Real’s boss. These are the key points in which Mourinho failed.
- A split squad. Real Madrid arrived to the final in the worst mental condition possible due to the confrontation between Mourinho and the players. And that is without any doubt the manager’s mistake. The task of a coach is to keep his squad united, and Mourinho has acted in the opposite way, fomenting separation and controversy in his press conferences.
- A conservative starting eleven. As in all the important matches –last year against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey, this year in Dortmund–, Mourinho selected a conservative formation to face the game. Rather than picking Modric for the centre-half and leaving Khedira out to bring Di Maria in, he chose a more defensive option. Di Maria, in very good shape, could have changed the final.
- Bringing Di Maria in too late. The Argentinian has arrived to the last quarter of the season in his best moment, performing at a very high level in every game. He created several goal opportunities when he was on the field, but he came in too late, just at the beginning of the extra time.
- Making the three substitutions at the same time. Higuain, Di Maria and Arbeloa came in at the start of the extra time, with 30 minutes to play. Mourinho did not change the formation at all with those substitutions, and left his team without solutions in case of an injury or the need of a game changing switch.
- Sending himself off. Mourinho did during the match the same thing he’s been doing for the last three weeks: creating confrontation and controversy. The referee sent him off in the 76th minute, but he could have showed him the red card before. All his staff behaved like punks after every controversial call of the referee. They just followed his boss example, and that is totally unacceptable for a club who’s history is based on respect and nobility.