Ain’t No Love In The Heart of The City....
“You don’t have to love me. You don’t even have to like me, but you will respect me” - Jose Mourinho
In this brief edition of the Jose Juninho Daily Merengue, we will just delve into a few observations from Jose Juninho regarding a third of the season and particularly the Real Madrid v. Rayo Vallecano match.
Welcome to Jose Juninho Edition of The Daily Merengue — a place where you can feel free to discuss all things football. Do not be alarmed by the overt RMCF bias. It’s in the name!
Shoutout to the MM Starting Five who do a fantastic job, Valyrian Steel, KungFuZizou, NeRObutBlanco, Felipejack, and Jose Juninho.
Quick Recap: Two Dropped Points
A melancholy but maybe even typical post-El Clasico performance by Los Blancos. A solid performance lacks the cutthroat execution needed to be La Liga champions, leading Madrid to draw against Rayo Vallecano at home. Overall, the team had many good (if not great) performances, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Hopefully, lessons can be learned and a quick turnaround can lead to 3 points against Braga and later Valencia.
FT: Real Madrid 0-0 Rayo. Thoughts? pic.twitter.com/0RnE2Oj1yg— Madrid Zone (@theMadridZone) November 5, 2023
Observation #1: A Strikerless System W/ Suspicious Subs
“We all want to play great music at all time, but if that is not possible you have to hit as many right notes as you can” - Jose Mourinho
Yes — Real Madrid needs an elite striker (or goalscorer to be exact). Joselu was not nearly clinical today. Rodrygo hasn’t been clinical all season. Vini has been hot + cold. And today Fede missed a sitter of all sitters. However, knowing that this is our team and has been our team since Sept 1, 2023, we need to make the appropriate adjustments to “hit as many right notes as [we] can.”
IMO this heavily involves getting our personnel selection and substitutions early and right, particularly since we don’t have much space for error. Honestly, the starting lineup was fine and showed life + an uncomfortable amount of positionless football (someone get me Carva’s offensive heatmap — LAWD HAVE MERCY)...but the subs??! (yuck). I can somewhat understand subbing Modric for Rodrygo. As Carlo said, he challenged the team to play with more width particularly on the right side of the pitch and immediately, Rodrygo had an opportunity to score that he just missed wide.
But the sub of Kroos for Fran imo made zero sense. Fran was performing well. Cama as the six was performing superbly and the combo of all three of these players allowed our team to actually press without possession. Once Kroos was subbed in, our energy and play (combined with tiring legs) vanished. Play became slower and more predictable (a consistent issue with us going forward...I can go into more depth but this is already too long to read.
️ Carlo Ancelotti: “Late substitutions? No one deserved to be subbed out because we were playing a good match.”— Madrid Zone (@theMadridZone) November 5, 2023
️ Carlo Ancelotti: "Sometimes you win when you don't deserve it and sometimes you lose when you deserve to win."— Madrid Zone (@theMadridZone) November 5, 2023
Observation #2: BELLINGOL
“I hate to speak about individuals. Players don’t win you trophies, teams win trophies, squads win trophies.” - Jose Mourinho
We are over-reliant on Bellingham. Yes — all great teams are reliant on star players. Yes — Bellingham is Belling-HIM (sorry that was supremely cliche but im not deleting). But we need to be more effective as a unit and as a system. We all gasped when Bellingham appeared injured (which he likely still is) because we all knew that he is the cornerstone, ground floor, and roof of this team. Ofc there’s debate on how we should move from that reliance...imo it’s a change of system but maybe it’s just personnel (and im not talking transfers)?
Q: Does the team fall apart when Bellingham doesn't score?— Madrid Zone (@theMadridZone) November 5, 2023
️ Carlo Ancelotti: "That's not true." pic.twitter.com/iYrPecSxrJ
Our record in games Bellingham hasn’t scored in 2-2-1. We’re 10-0-0 in games Jude has scored.
Observation #3: Raging Vinicius
“Without emotional control you cannot play, influence, you cannot react. You have to know what you have to do and not react. You have to be cool”
So I understand that it’s now the flavor of the month to tell Vini — calma. At times (i.e., non-racism reactions aside), I tend to agree and was going to begin this segment by speaking on it. However, another part of me disagrees with Jose. Bear with me...but is it possible that this unapologetic, highly emotional, and potentially sensitive chaos is what drives Vini on a regularly basis to be great? For example, Rodrygo is extremely more tempered than Vini. But Rodrygo isn’t going to dribble at 4 defenders with a reckless abandonment of whether it makes sense and whether he lost the ball 3 times earlier that half and therefore likely won’t create individualistic genius from that single moment. Vini may be frustrating to the onlooker but he’s unwavering as he rages against the current. And maybe some of that should be applauded? In some ways, it’s like would Rudiger be Rudiger if he wasn’t at times a menace to the opposition and his team during goal celebrations...
Still, I guess one of the vets (idk...Modric / Carva?) should just quickly chat with him to be a bit more selective of when he confronts refs.