Coaches will use a variety of tactics ahead of big matches either publicly or privately. For Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura, he's chosen the public path by making comments about today's match referee. Roura probably never expected to be in this situation this season but with Tito Vilanova's health preventing the Barca head coach from being with the team, it's fallen on him to try and guide this team through a tough stretch of the season.
Now he faces a massive El Clasico match up that could allow Barca to further ruin Real Madrid's season. His players will be taking the pitch today in match controlled by referee Undiano Mallenco and Roura doesn't seem all that thrilled about it. He made is feelings clear in his pre-match press conference.
"The referee is who he is, he was the one who was picked and we're not going to evaluate whether he is good or bad,"
"However, it is true that with this referee our numbers are worse than with any other."
During the Pep Guardiola era, Barcelona won 73,26% of the time and lost only 8.68% of the time. However, with this particular referee, the winning percentage was only 64%, while the losing percentage grew to 21.5%
Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid has won the Clasico only 3 of the 15 times it has been played. Of those three victories, two were under the watch of Undiano Mallenco.
Considering how important this match is, you've got to tip your hat to Roura for potentially planting a seed inside the referee's head. Now we'll just have to see if that seed benefits Barcelona. Either way, a big officiating decision today could lead to a lot of talk and speculation the rest of the week.