Yet another Clasico this way comes! Tomorrow Real Madrid will take the pitch in Camp Nou against Catalan rivals Barcelona in the second leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals. Mourinho's men will have to win by at least 2-0 in order to overcome their first leg deficit.
Los Blancos will be heading into the match on the heels of a rough week, considering the mess of the press, the Pepe controversy, and the disappointment stemming from the fans. The team will have to work hard to remain focused.
But probably the most worrying thing is the lack of momentum Madrid carry into the match. In the past Real Madrid has taken the pitch under much better circumstances. The press is usually on their side as are the fans. Now not even Marca is on Mourinho's side and considering the whistles and jeers aimed at the coach from the stands, neither are the fans. Because of this, we will probably see a much less confidant Real Madrid side than previously, which could certainly pose a problem. Why? Because an unfortunate trend is beginning to emerge: once the Catalans score, Madrid fade away ad lose faith. If Los Blancos don't have the belief that they can score and win against Barcelona, then they will not. Although they played an excellent game against Athletic Bilbao in the league, putting on a solid performance Madridistas will want to see repeated against Barcelona, the backlash from the first leg has not completely ebbed away.
Now if Madrid can swallow their hurt pride and focus on the match, they have a chance of winning. Just because they're not heading into this Clasico on a high does not mean they will lose. The team will really have to try not to let their frustration show because not only will Barcelona see it and take an advantage of it, but it could make their playing sloppy and challenges clumsy.
A positive note that can be taken into account is, as I mentioned before, their victory over Athletic Bilbao. Although it may not fully compensate for the first-leg loss, there is one thing that can be seen as a real highlight: new confidence in certain squad members (cough Ozil Kaka cough). Of course there are many other good things that can be taken from that match, but this is probably the most important in terms of the coming Clasico.
Their performance this Sunday could possibly cause a huge impact in the next leg. This is because not only do Kaka and Ozil have more confidence in their abilities which will hopefully be shown Wednesday evening, but because Mourinho can now also rely on their playmaking abilities. In the first leg against Barcelona, the team was having a difficult time breaking through the Catalan defense and holding the ball. If these two can maintain the form they had Sunday, Real Madrid have a much higher chance of salvaging some pride.
However, regardless of whether they will have an impact at all, the most we can expect from this point is for Madrid is to go out there with a fight and keep that fight throughout the match. And although this week has been tough and disappointing for fans as well, the team will really need their Madridistas behind them 100%.
So, time to get some pride. Say it with me. One, two, three: HALA MADRID!