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With 25 matches left to play, the title race is not over by a long shot—even if Barcelona extends their lead over Madrid to 11 points tomorrow.
There isn't much more room for error with Madrid, though. This loss to Betis puts them on the verge of being out of the hunt.
While most of the team was poor against Madrid, their only special coach has to take some blame as well.
Los Merengues have now lost as many matches this season—less than a third of the way in—than they did all of last term.
They lost their third away match of the campaign, second in Seville. Madrid will now enter December in third place for the first time in the Jose Mourinho era.
If Roman Abramovich were in charge, Jose Mourinho would probably be getting sacked tomorrow.
Last season the only common major critique against the Portuguese coach was that he did a very poor job of rotating his players, and it almost cost his team the title in the second half.
This season has not been very different, and the Betis match gave us more proof of how Mourinho needs to do a better job of resting his key players.
Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria were just awful and rightfully subbed at the half. Rest was not the reason for Ozil—who is having his worst season in Spain so far—but it is for Di Maria.
There is just no reason the out-of-form winger should have started this match after playing a full match mid-week with a healthy Kaka on the bench.
Poor rotation continues
Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas and Pepe were all also in poor condition and two should have been more rested.
Pepe played his third full match in seven days while Raphael Varane hasn't started since November 6th. Ronaldo was always going to start but should have been subbed off against Athletic Bilbao last weekend, even at the half with a three-goal lead in hand.
Fatigue clearly played a part in Madrid's loss and that comes down to one person—the coach.
If Manuel Pellegrini can find a way to rest a smaller, far less talented Malaga squad, Mourinho just has to do better with so many world class players at his disposal.