Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: Jose Mourinho Keeps Grass High to Slow Barcelona?
In Saturday's El Clasico, Barcelona were their typical Barcelona selves, playing keep away from their Real Madrid counterparts and dominating the majority of the possession—as they almost always always do.
But their attack was a bit flatter than usual with less flair: their typical seemingly effortless flow on offense was amiss during the tilt at the Santiago Bernabéu.
According to a report in The Guardian, Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho kept the Bernabeu's grass higher than usual in hopes that the playing surface would slow down the Catalans' offense.
Barcelona had much more of the ball but there was a slowness to their play – Mourinho had ordered that the grass be left long – and a lack of clarity and fluidity, the ball moved around reduced spaces and deep areas of the pitch, accumulating bodies and passes but not opportunities. For Barça, who knew that a draw would preserve their league advantage, nor did there appear to be much urgency. For Madrid, the urgency came in the speed with which they launched themselves forward from deep, where they lay in wait, and the pressure they applied to their opponents.
Did it work? Maybe. Sure, Barcelona weren't as fluid as most would expect from a Barcelona side, but they probably should have had an additional penalty awarded in the first half, and Real Madrid's penalty that led to the equalizer was a controversial one.
But if anyone would resort to odd tactics to try and earn an advantage, would anyone put it past Mourinho?
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