Jose Mourinho's intentions were perfectly telegraphed as he consigned Mesut Oezil and Esteban Granero to anonymity. He started three holding midfielders with Lassana Diarra, Xabi Alonso, and Pepe in a deliberate park the bus tactics. The last mentioned was relocated to midfield from his usual centre back position with Sergio Ramos partnering Ricardo Carvalho.
Mourinho's switch resulted in Pepe committing:
1) A vicious foul on Sergio Busqets which resulted in a yellow card.
2) Going down theatrically after minimal contact with Fabregas complete with face clutching.
3) The now infamous foot stomp on Leo Messi's hand.
We might blame Pepe but Jose Mourinho is just manipulating his psychopathic streak to intimidate Barca. Basically, what you see is a manager who has run out of ideas and gifted the shop to the thugs to unleash mayhem. Reminds one of the droogies in Clockwork Orange or the Joker in The Dark Knight.
For the first time, Real fans are deploring Mourinho's actions in large numbers. The wool has been ripped off and they see the coach and the club as the problem, not Barca. Sid Lowe has a sampling of the reactions of the Spanish (read Madrid) media and it does not make for pretty reading. This by Santiago Segurlo of Marca really sums it up.
"Mourinho's latest pirouette was his worst. Spanish football has seen many teams with far fewer resources who have made life more difficult for Barça. And with greater nobility."
Whatever we may say, Real is a storied club, the most decorated in the world. Their fans want them to play hard. But they also want their club to play with skill and honour in keeping with their club's traditions. They are getting neither under Mourinho.