Blogs & Opinion


Recent Comments:

Cem Takaci on Making his mark

"Hi Guillem, all of this hype sourounding jose mourinho and the saying that the wave is swinging for real madrid right now. But once Jose leaves and it does seem that he will if not this... " View all comments

Siyavuya Zamxaka on Awesome foursome

"wonderfull column as always...I think Madrid have a better chance of winning the Cup game in all of these 4 games. This is because Mourinho can play any system and not worry about how ... " View all comments

Man Utd have improved against Spanish teams, says Guillem Balague

Features - Guillem Balague Posted 11th March 2013 view comments

I agree with Jose Mourinho that the best team didn't win at Old Trafford last Tuesday.

There's no doubt in my mind that Manchester United were playing better than Real Madrid before Nani's sending off.

That was very pleasing to see because there is always a question mark whether United can cope tactically with Spanish teams - or, to put it another way, if they can be solid enough for long enough.

Ferguson and Mourinho: had a lengthy chat after the Old Trafford clash, says Guillem

Ferguson and Mourinho: had a lengthy chat after the Old Trafford clash, says Guillem

Take, for example, the 2011 Champions League final when United lost their shape when Barcelona changed their tactics after 10 minutes.

This time, though, the answer this time was 'yes' - United answered the question until the sending off changed the complexion of the game.

The matter of whether Nani deserved a red card has been discussed extensively but here's my view: if you endanger a player you don't need to include intent in your conclusions, so I agree that it was a red card.

It was a shame to see Sir Alex Ferguson so incensed when perhaps he should have realised that by protesting so much he would affect the team.

Guillem Balague
Quotes of the week

It was a shame to see Sir Alex Ferguson so incensed when perhaps he should have realised that by protesting so much he would affect the team.

It would have been better to focus on the job in hand; for 10 minutes the team was in shock, which was understandable but they recovered well and finished really well too, to give credence to Mourinho's post-match statement.

It was cheeky of Ferguson - who met Mourinho for an hour in the changing rooms after the game - to come out and say that Iker Casillas wouldn't have stopped what Diego Lopez managed because it was a comment that was obviously based on a conversation with Mourinho.

Remember that Mourinho will leave Real Madrid - he and the club have agreed a pay-off of 10m Euros at the end of this season and he will move on.

That was Mourinho's way of paying Casillas back. I think what Ferguson did was just give a little favour to Mourinho. In fact, Casillas deserves a lot of respect.

On the up

It was very pleasing to see Real Sociedad beat Atletico Madrid because it was a very hard test.

They are a club on the way up because they do it sometimes with Imanol Agirretxe up front and sometimes with no No 9.

Carlos Vela is having a consistent season - he is probably their best player - while Antoine Griezmann can play as a fourth striker and do a good job too. Xabi Prieto is fantastic on the right-hand side and sometimes he plays in the centre of midfield too.

So they vary their tactics and they are now solid at the back. I like both centre-backs but especially Inigo Martínez - he's definitely going places - and I like the right-back, Carlos Martínez, as well. Moreover, I think Asier Illarramendi could play for Barcelona - he's that sort of player, he's a bit like Xavi.

All in all, this really is a team that I think is going to make it into the top four and it's important they do so because I've made a bet that they will with Scott Minto and our Revista producer, Stevie Rowe!

Guillem answers your questions...

Got a question for Guillem? Then send it or use the feedback form below, and then look out for his answer next week.

Do you think that instead of Barcelona playing Villa or Iniesta out wide it's time to start playing the young guns that they have e.g. Tello and Deulofeu as they have more pace and more hunger to win trophies? Nicolas Dusabe

GUILLEM SAYS: I don't agree with that, Nicolas. I think Tello is too one-directional and Iniesta should play in the centre. The best 'Villa' was the one who in 2011 managed to do so much damage from the left-hand side. I just think that he needs to play regularly. He's lost confidence now but I still think he's got it in him to run in behind defenders and do the kind of things you have to do on the left. In my view, Gerard Deulofeu is too young.

Hi Guillem, has there been any news on the presidential elections at Real Madrid in the summer? Will there be anyone to rival Florentino Pérez and what are the candidate's mandates on players, managers, running of the club etc? Also, do you think there is any possibility that Jose Mourinho will stay on next year at Real? Gracias! Michael Mcaree

GUILLEM SAYS: As I said in the article above, I think Real and Jose will part ways at the end of this season. The message sent by the club at the moment that he will stay is a clear message to keep everyone on board and not undermine Jose's authority. Florentino Perez does not have a big rival. A bunch of former players are trying to get something together but it is too late for this one; after this election they may start a campaign to gain some space and challenge Florentino Perez but it will be very hard because Perez has a lot of authority and personality and he will always have friends in the media defending his position at the club.

Hi Guillem, Are the Barca Board considering bringing in short-term, experienced cover for Tito? I know they remain loyal to Tito as we all do and feel for Jordi Roura but the next two months are crucial and there must be one or two suitable candidates? Thanks Neil Parry

GUILLEM SAYS: Barcelona are not considering any sort of cover. They have decided 'we are a club with a long history - and our history is based on respect for the people at the club', so no matter what happens they will keep Tito in charge because in their view, it's not all about winning games.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jeff Stelling

Jeff: Resting players is costly

Why are clubs resting their stars in crucial games? It's costing them three points, says Jeff Stelling....

Jamie Carragher

Carragher: Which Blues are best?

Jamie Carragher reveals which Man City wizard and which Chelsea talisman he would have in his team....

Jamie Redknapp

Redknapp: Rodgers' balancing act

Jamie Redknapp expects Raheem Sterling to return, after Brendan Rodgers' rotation error against Aston Villa....

Latest News RSS feeds

Kranjcar cracker earns QPR draw

Niko Kranjcar’s late free-kick secured QPR a 2-2 draw at home to Stoke to spoil Mark Hughes’ return to Loftus Road.

Van Gaal's fears over title

Louis Van Gaal believes a lack of Champions League football this season could damage Manchester United’s title hopes.

Live transfer updates

Manchester United are linked with Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman, plus all the speculation from the newspapers.

Jose wants tougher FFP stance

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has called on UEFA to dock points and remove titles if clubs break Financial Fair Play rules.

Pardew braced for protests

Under-fire Newcastle boss Alan Pardew says the 'mass hysteria' surrounding his job is having an effect on his players.


Raheem Sterling masterclass

Raheem Sterling masterclass

As Liverpool came within two points of winning the 2013/14 Premier League title, only Chelsea’s Eden Hazard averaged more successful dribbles per game than Raheem Sterling.

David Meyler Interview: Hull City midfielder talks ambitions, Steve Bruce and FIFA 15

David Meyler Interview: Hull City midfielder talks ambitions, Steve Bruce and FIFA 15

Sky Sports caught up with Hull City midfielder David Meyler to discuss ambitions for the season, summer signings, Steve Bruce, Alan Pardew and the best FIFA player in the dressing room.

What next for Steven Gerrard as Liverpool visit West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday Night Football?

What next for Steven Gerrard as Liverpool visit West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday Night Football?

Liverpool’s defeat by Aston Villa last weekend represented more than just a second Premier League loss in only four games this season; it represented a tactical dilemma for manager Brendan Rodgers.