Mourinho faces Real Madrid D-day as exit rumours heighten
Jose Mourinho is no stranger to being the centre of attention and has already overcome one serious obstacle at Real Madrid.
Mourinho won his first battle with the Real Madrid hierarchy last season when persuading Florentino Perez to relieve Jorge Valdano of his duties, but winning over the players and fans after their recent show of discontent is likely to prove far more challenging.
Despite topping La Liga by five points and scoring more goals than any other team previously in the first half of a Spanish top-flight season, Mourinho is still under pressure.
Regardless of other results, the one thing the fans expect is a similarly attacking philosophy against Barcelona, even if it results in defeat.
It appeared that Madrid had turned a corner when pressing high up the field and being the dominant force in the two Spanish Super Cup games earlier in the season, despite losing.
The fans left relatively happy, but in the first leg of the Copa Del Rey quarter final Mourinho reverted to previous tactics of picking extra holding midfielders and effectively allowing Barcelona to dictate the game.
Boos have rung around the Bernabeu since, even when the club were 4-1 up against Athletic Bilbao, and Mourinho faces an almighty task in winning these fans back over in the second leg against Barcelona.
The obvious reaction would be that Mourinho would bow to the pressure and attack, especially as they need to score to overcome their 2-1 deficit.
But Mourinho makes his own decisions and it would be no surprise if he went against the wishes of the supporters.
If he does this and it backfires, Real Madrid are reportedly already drawing up a shortlist that is topped by Arsene Wenger and Joachim Loew.
Real Madrid’s odds are 9/2 to beat Barcelona or 11/2 that they qualify from the tie to reach the Copa Del Rey semi finals.