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Why ‘hunting with a dog’ has paid dividends for Real Madrid:

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When Gonzalo Higuain got seriously injured last season, Jose Mourinho remarked that if he couldn’t hunt with a dog, he would have to hunt with a cat. Given Mourinho’s comments on Karim Benzema up until that point, and the fact that whilst at Chelsea before the FA cup final he was arrested for refusing to let police quarantine his dog Leya instead telling police the dog had ‘run away to St Tropez’, it is safe to say Jose is a dog person.

However, Benzema took the comments on the chin, replied he was a lion, not a cat and worked his way into the starting line-up on merit. So much so, that when Higuain finally regained fitness after months out, Benzema had ousted him as a first choice striker. You have to wonder, if Benzema feels his scoring record is comparable to a lion, what exactly do Ronaldo and Messi resemble?!

Mourinho had such a new found confidence in Benzema that he did not look for a further centre forward to join in the summer as he had the previous transfer window, although how much of his insistence last January for a forward was due to lack of faith in Benzema compared to wanting another client of Jorge Mendez and a further consolidation of power at the Santiago Bernabau during the height of his rivalry with Valadano is debatable.

However, now with Valadano out of the picture and more control at Real Madrid than any previous manager has ever had, not to mention half the squad being ‘team Mendez’ and living in the same apartment complex in Madrid, times are rosy for Mourinho in that respect.

Despite rumours of discontent in the squad and board, Mourinho has received full backing from Zidane and also President Florentino Perez, who hailed the special one as the ‘best manager in the world.’ Few would be brave enough to disagree, especially when remembering Mourinho’s reaction towards a journalist who questioned him during his time in England replying ‘you want to succeed in your job like I have in mine in three years? You have no chance.’

Two victories in the space of a week scoring seven goals combined, not to mention two hugely important clean sheets, despite the injury situation at the back, with Carvalho now ruled out due to a back injury, Madrid are moving up their domestic table, and are only one point behind arch rivals Barca, who were lucky to record a victory at rock bottom Sporting Gijon earlier in the evening.

Naturally Barca’s scraped victory meant that nothing less than the three points was required, and Gonzalo Higuain duly obliged with the first goal just after quarter of an hour had passed. This evidently calmed the nerves of Mourinho’s men, who faced a tough trip after their champion’s league game away to Espanyol, yet the reshuffled defence held firm, and Higuain got another two goals either side of a goal from substitute Callejon.

Higuain certainly made more than a small claim for a permanent place in the starting line-up, and Mourinho will have no worries over playing him in Benzema’s place whilst the French man is out, and potentially even beyond that. Unfortunately for Real, just as they are hitting form again, another international break is upon us.

Yet with things stretched nearly to breaking point in terms of injuries and suspensions, demonstrated the inclusion of Lassana Diarra back in the starting line-up after his disgraceful performance last time around, Mourinho will use this as time to get players back to fitness, especially his first choice centre back pairing, and hope no more injuries are inflicted on his Los Blancos.

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1 comment

  • whistleblower says:

    Benzema IMO is deserving of being number 1 at the moment. Higuain will get his chance defence still looks vulnerable at times.

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