Soccer coach's abbrasive tactics reach a new low

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Soccer coach's abbrasive tactics reach a new low

From Comcast SportsNet Thursday, August 18, 2011
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Grabbing an opposing coach by the face and placing a finger near his eye, making inappropriate gestures to rival players and attacking ballboys for time-wasting -- Jose Mourinho has taken his abrasive tactics to a new level. The Real Madrid coach's antics during a mass brawl near the end of the Spanish Supercup against Barcelona on Wednesday are threatening to taint his club's image and detract from the thrilling football two of the world's best teams are capable of producing. Mourinho strolled through a cluster of fighting players and brusquely flicked a finger near Barcelona assistant coach Tito Vilanova's eye. Vilanova, who had his back to Mourinho, turned and reciprocated with a push. Players left both benches to join the fight at Camp Nou, resulting in three players being sent off to overshadow what had been an attractive game of football decided by Messi's 87th-minute winner which gave Barcelona a record 10th Supercup and third straight. Referee David Fernandez Borbalan's failure to include details of Mourinho's incident in his match report means he and Vilanova are likely to escape punishment when the disciplinary committee meets next week. Madrid pair Marcelo and Mesut Oezil and Barcelona striker David Villa could also avoid a ban despite being sent off, since the Supercup is considered a one-off competition and sanctions don't necessarily carry over to other domestic competitions. El Pais newspaper described the match, which Barcelona won 3-2 for a 5-4 aggregate victory, as "Football from Another Planet." But while El Mundo Deportivo echoed those sentiments, the Barcelona-based sports newspaper then took a stab at the Madrid coach by saying "Mourinho dirties football further; (Madrid) don't know how to lose nor win." Barcelona's players labeled Madrid's football a "disgrace" while Gerard Pique said "Mourinho is destroying Spanish football." The question is what are Mourinho's tactics doing to Madrid's reputation at a time when it can't find a way to beat its biggest rival. "The images speak for themselves," Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said. "There are certain things that shouldn't be done. This will all end badly if it doesn't stop." Former Barcelona president Joan Gaspart said on Catalan radio that football had given Mourinho a "double personality." "This is not his way of being, he's a normal person. I don't ever remember one coach attacking another. I hope this all ends with Mourinho apologizing to Vilanova," said Gaspart, who headed the club when Mourinho worked there as an assistant, although fans continue to refer to him as "the translator." "Madrid adores him, but the truth is this isn't the Mourinho I know." Mourinho was also seen making an inappropriate gestures toward Lionel Messi and Daniel Alves. He later made a derogatory remark about Vilanova in the postgame news conference and accused Barcelona's ballboys of time wasting, saying the tactic was something a "small-time" club like Barcelona did. "I am very happy for my team after what happened in the end. What happened is somebody provoked the situation, and it certainly wasn't a player from Real Madrid," the Portuguese coach said. But even former Madrid general director Jorge Valdano was distressed by the end of the match. "Without a doubt that was the worst way to end the Spanish Supercup," he said. The two teams played four matches in 18 days in April which were characterized by fights, diving and accusations of feigned injuries. That eventually led to Mourinho being banned for five matches for alleging referees and UEFA favored Barcelona. While at Chelsea, Mourinho was banned from the touchline for two matches in 2005 by UEFA after he accused Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard of visiting Swedish referee Anders Frisk at halftime of a Champions League match. He was also fined 40,000 (then 53,000) and banned from sitting on the bench for three games after he made a handcuff gesture when two of his then-Inter Milan players were sent off during a Serie A match against Sampdoria in 2010. On Wednesday, Mourinho was undone by Messi's brilliance. The Argentine set up Andres Iniesta for the opener before scoring the other goals to become the competition's all-time leading scorer by two from former Madrid striker Raul Gonzalez. While the Spanish league season remains under threat of delay due to a strike, for Madrid the message was clear: any success this season will have to be at Barcelona's expense. "We have won a Supercup against Real Madrid during a very intense game during which they've put us under a lot of pressure," Guardiola said. "And we have learned a lot from these two games that we will use when we meet them again the future."

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.