Jose Mourinho begins a season defining stretch of games with Real Madrid today as he will attempt to guide his side past Barcelona and into the Copa del Rey Final. He's made no secret about the fact he's focused on winning this cup and the Champions League so anything other than a victory today simply won't do. That's a lot of pressure but if anyone can shoulder it, it's Mourinho.
The Special One's tactical decisions today will be heavily scrutinized, especially if things don't go Madrid's way. Our Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid has a few thoughts about Mourinho's tactical options. Should Mourinho go with a variation of the 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 that's show to be more effective as pressing Barca in past meetings, but isn't a solid defensively?
The other option is to play with the usual 4-2-3-1 formation and press Barcelona's defenders. That turned to be a good strategy in the past few meetings, but Barcelona has always managed to score. Barça has always been seen as a positional team, but they are lethal in transition.
No matter what Mourinho does it's going to be an interesting day at the Camp Nou. If his lineup decisions backfire, or are even perceived to have backfired, he'll be under even more pressure to get a result at Old Trafford next week. Not to mention the fact he has to turn right around and play Barcelona again on the weekend.
A win today would make life a little easier for the Special One.