Jose Mourinho chose not to address reporters after yesterday's emphatic 5-0 thrashing of Espanyol. Instead, that duty fell to Assistant Coach Aitor Karanka who commented on the impressive performances of Gonzalo, Higuain and Kaka. Karanka also touched on Ricardo Carvalho's noticeably poor outing, which prompted whistles from the Bernabeu faithful.
Speaking of Higuain, a player surrounded by speculation and enduring a minor drought in front of goal, Karanka reiterated that,
Mourinho had already said that he was one of the best players in the world, and his character is special.
You can easily see when he is comfortable on the pitch and when he is not. You can imagine how happy he was.
He calls upon himself the pressure to improve every day and it pays off.
Higuain was absolutely brilliant against Espanyol, showing that he is still one of the best strikers in the world. I sense that there were some snickers and smirks scattered throughout some corners of the footballing world when Mourinho first voiced that opinion a few days ago, but the smooth passing, excellent vision and deadly finishing he exhibited yesterday should silence any lingering doubts.
Karanka also singled out Kaka for praise in the aftermath of the Brazilian's most complete performance in months.
It's also obvious when Kaka enjoys himself and it is a spectacle to behold when things work out for him. He didn't give a good performance the other day because the match was very physical, but he feels comfortable at the Bernabeu and it is a real pleasure to watch him play.
Kaka showed flashes of his old acceleration and shiftiness by pressing, controlling the tempo in the offensive zone and providing excellent distribution to Higuain and Ronaldo.
Perhaps the only member of Real Madrid who did not win superlatives yesterday was Ricardo Carvalho. The 33-year-old is struggling through an injury-plagued campaign and was extremely shaky against Espanyol, prompting Mourinho to replace him at the half in favor of Raphael Varane. Karanka downplayed the displeasure showed by Bernabeu supporters, giving Carvalho a robust vote of confidence.
He was an important player last season and he should be supported by all.
It usually happens with a player of his experience. He wants to play and show more of what he can do, and whatever happens, there is more haste.
He had a card and in another play he could have picked up another.
I like that the coaching staff is supportive of Carvalho because I do think his experience will be valuable during the run-in. Let's hope that yesterday's performance was just an aberration and that the veteran Portuguese defender will round into form.
Altogether, I think Karanka said what needed to be said after the match, striking precisely the right tone after 10 straight league victories.
What do you think, madridistas?