Special One made to look ordinary by Klopp

Posted by Nicholas Rigg

When Jose Mourinho admits the better team won, you know the better team won.

Rarely has the 'Special One' looked so ordinary and so helpless on the sidelines with his team picked apart at will. The only thing special at the Westfalenstadion on Wednesday night was Jurgen Klopp, the man who masterminded Borussia Dortmund's stunning 4-1 victory over Los Blancos in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.

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When you think back over Mourinho's managerial career you struggle to remember too many occasions when any of his teams have been simply out-classed. Not just beaten, but thrashed.

The infamous 5-0 Clasico thumping at the Camp Nou in Mourinho's first match against Barcelona as Madrid boss sticks out, but few other matches raise their head (I'm sure a few will be brought up in the comments section below).

Mourinho, without wanting to, will remember that night in Catalonia for the rest of his life. Now he'll probably remember a night in Dortmund, too.

"They were by far the better team and deserved to win," he said. "They were stronger than us. They played with much more intensity and at an extremely high tempo. We found it really difficult to track their runs from deep. It was a really complete performance from them. They outplayed us individually and collectively".

Whether you love Mourinho or loathe him, the Portuguese has a history of producing excuses, rightly or wrongly, when his sides have suffered defeats in big games before. Just look at the majority of the Clasico matches. Chelsea against Barcelona, too (do you sense a trend here?). Bad refereeing decisions, 'dishonest' wins. Those defeats on the big stage were not his fault, they were not his team's fault.

This time he could do little to defend his men, just hold his hands up and admit the best team won. There was nothing else he could do. He could have contended the decision to award a penalty for Dortmund's fourth goal, but he knew that would have failed to paper over the cracks of a shattering defeat.

Mourinho and his men are saying progression to London and Wembley is still a possibility - of course, they're not going to throw in the towel. The reality is La Decima seems a long way away with Dortmund in cruise control to make what could be an all-German final in the English capital.

There is little left for Los Blancos to do at the Bernabeu next Tuesday other than to attack. If their name really is on a trophy they know oh-so well, Madrid must keep faith with the world-class players they have at their disposal. Madrid's task is a tough one, but it's not impossible. Mats Hummels and Cristiano Ronaldo made sure an away goal gives Madrid a glimmer of hope. A hope Barcelona, seemingly, have not got.

Madrid's defence may not be water-tight, but one thing they do have in them is goals. Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain, Karim Benzema, Mesut Ozil, Angel di Maria and Luka Modric make sure of that.

Los Blancos could also be spurred on by Dortmund's post-match celebrations, too. Of course, Klopp and his men earned the right to celebrate a famous victory for the club, and it's not unusual for the Germans to take time out to join in with their fantastic support, but it will have undoubtedly hurt Madrid's players to see those scenes as they trundled off the pitch. A sense of 'it ain't over yet' may just prevail in the Spanish capital next week.

Whether Madrid take their frustrations out on neighbours Atletico this weekend remains to be seen. El Derbi almost seems small fry compared to the goings on in Dortmund this week, and the return leg to come on Tuesday.

Mourinho will have to take the clash at the Vicente Calderon seriously, however. Not only does clinching second place and bragging rights ahead of the Copa del Rey matter, but the Madrid boss will not want to be the manager to let slip Los Blancos' massive grip on derby contests.

Atleti have not won a derby clash in 14 years, but Diego Simeone and his men will fancy their chances on Saturday night. Atletico have matched their near-neighbours stride for stride throughout this season and will look to take advantage of their fresher approach to the game, as well as hope Los Blancos have one eye on Tuesday's return leg against Dortmund.

It would probably be naive to think Madrid will field its strongest side for the derby just days before their biggest game of the season against the Germans. But that will be measured against securing second and continuing that unbeaten run. Mourinho's reputation is at stake.

Los Blancos could also do with a morale-boosting victory to take into Tuesday night's big match, making this El Derbi one to really whet the appetite.

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