Yesterday evening could not have gone much better for Real Madrid. Just minutes before they kicked off against Deportivo, a collective roar went up among the majority present at the Bernanbeu as news reached them that Barcelona, their fierce rivals and the favourites to win La Liga, had been held at home by Mallorca.
And there were plenty more cheers over the 90 minutes that ensued. Indeed, a Cristiano Ronaldo double, efforts from Mesut Ozil, Angel Di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain, and an own-goal from Ze Castro earned Los Merengues an uplifting 6-1 victory over their visitors.
The result left Real third in La Liga, two points behind leaders Valencia and one above Barça. It also compounded the growing feeling among Madridistas that, with Mourinho presiding over a star-stacked squad, the club’s colossal spending over the past two years is set to be vindicated with the sport’s biggest prizes in 2010/11. The Portuguese coach is nevertheless refusing to get carried away.
"We are not the best team in the world yet because we beat Depor 6-1,” he said. “We are still under construction, and neither the result nor the applause of the fans makes me think our work is done.
"The work continues. I am very calm. We have a lot to do and a lot of work. I have the confidence of my president and I have the confidence of the board."
Since assuming the Real reins in the summer, Mourinho has stressed that he is the man to end Barcelona’s two-season reign of La Liga. He has, however, been the subject of criticism, which he addressed following his team’s rout of Deportivo.
"If you have doubts about a coach who has won what I have then you have to explain what qualities a coach should have to have the right to work in your country,” he said. "You have to tell me if I have to have won three Champions Leagues and seven domestic league titles.
“I have two Champions Leagues and six domestic league titles. Is that enough to have the right to work here? If so, great. I'll continue with my work."
Real will return to action away to Malaga following the international break, while Barcelona will host Valencia.