It was a busy day for Mourinho and his men, this past Tuesday. The Portuguese coach had to answer 12 questions about his relationship with Sergio Ramos after the Spanish centerback wore Özil's jersey under his during the match against Deportivo. The Spanish press showed they didn't care about today's game, and Mourinho tried to deny the rumors of a bad professional feeling with his second team captain. In his own style, though.
The relationship between my wife and me is much better than mine with Ramos. But I get along with him the same way I get along with Arbeloa or the others. There's no problem with him. If you want to talk about why he wore that shirt, then you need to ask him, not me.
So, Mourinho was smart enough to choose Álvaro Arbeloa to speak to the press just after him. The Spanish right back gave a lesson on how to dismiss rumors properly while not letting a single journalist misunderstand his words.
We all know Mourinho is the coach and we all know he is the single authority here. If we don't like something, we are mature enough to speak confidently with him. Ramos said he wanted to dedicate the goal to Mesut, I've already spoken to him about the matter, but that will stay private.
Going back to the game, Arbeloa's presence in the press room indicates that he will start the game against Ajax. Mourinho confirmed it and also revealed that he only has one doubtful player: Sami Khedira. Knowing how well the German midfielder has been playing lately, it will be hard for Mourinho to leave him on the bench resting and getting ready for Sunday's Clásico, but that will clearly be the smartest decision.
Michael Essien is expected to return to the team today, and he could be Mourinho's chosen one to take on Khedira's role. He was also brilliant in that spot against Rayo Vallecano, and he certainly has the Champions League experience needed to be trusted.
Ramos and Pepe should be in the middle of the defense, leaving the left to Coentrao (if Marcelo is going to start El Clásico it might be better to leave this game for the Portuguese left back as well).
I don't think it would surprise anybody seeing Modric on Özil's spot as well. Mourinho wasn't happy with his performance lately, but he still might want him to feature against Barcelona, a team he's been very successful against. It will also be a very smart move to rest Di María today and let Callejón start, but the Argentinian winger has been key in Real Madrid's latest wins.
On the striker spot, it all depends on whether Mourinho thinks Benzema is able to play both today and Sunday's Clásico. The French player will likely start against Barcelona, so Mourinho might leave the task against Ajax for Higuaín once again.
This game will provide a tough challenge before the battle at the Camp Nou, so let's hope our players have better luck than Carles Puyol so they don't get injured today.