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When it comes to conversations on footballing philosophy, Barcelona fans love to harp on how Pep Guardiola and Barcelona play the most attacking, beautiful football there is. They deride the managers of teams that beat them, like Jose Mourinho, as managers who rely on defensive tactics to win "ugly" against the team.
However, as Tom Drisdell explain's excellently in his article, the Catalan Myth is indeed nothing more than a myth. Sure, it can be called attacking football, but beautiful, it is not.
More often than not, the neutral supporter has seen himself bored to tears as Barcelona complete pass after pass after pass, dominating possession but doing little else until an opening presents itself.
When the opening goal is scored, the Barcelona loosen up and dominate the game, pounding in a number of goals; but until that goal is scored, the game is slowed tremendously and turned into a contest of patience—with Barcelona usually succeeding.
Mourinho does not rely on such boring tactics. His team is disciplined, but they know how to play attacking football and get the job done without having to bore spectators until the first goal. Real Madrid's 102 goals in the 2010-11 La Liga season can attest to this.
Mourinho gets his reputation for "ugly football" for the manner in which his Inter Milan team beat Barcelona over two legs in the 2009-10 Champions League.
There is no denying that the tactics employed by Mourinho in those fixtures were defensive, but there is also no denying that those tactics were necessary as the Inter Milan team of 2009-10 was a less talented team than the Barcelona team of 2009-10.
At Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho now coaches a much more offensively gifted side, and now generally plays attacking football that yields a plethora of goals.
Yes, defensive tactics are still used against Barcelona, but that is because Barcelona's possession football is designed to suffocate attacking football, giving Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho no choice but to adjust, which the team and coach have done fairly well since the first Clasico of 2010-11.