. Tactical Observations: Málaga v Real Madrid 22/10/11
posted by Paul Wilkes (Editor) on 2011-10-22 22:30:00


Manuel Pellegrini - Málaga Manager

"With Real Madrid, I think we will have more space, the team has a clear idea of what we want and hopefully we can do everything right."

"I have absolutely nothing to prove, I have a conscience and coming to Málaga was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life."

Pellegrini was full of surprises as he made 4 changes to last weekends side, Rubén got the nod in-goal with Willy Caballero suspended after last weeks sending off at Levante. Eliseu came in for Monreal, Apoño replaced Maresca and Rondón started ahead of Real old boy Ruud Van Nistelrooy. Apoño had been frozen out after a disagreement with Pellegrini during their game with Sevilla at the start of the season, his apology ensured a return to the starting eleven.

José Mourinho - Real Madrid Manager

"They are fighting to qualify for European places at the very least, and with the quality they have got, I expect and I hope they get into the Champions League."

"I respect Málaga, I respect everyone. But after training Real Madrid it would be very difficult to train another team. Last season I referred to Málaga but without any bad intentions."

Mourinho made just the 2 changes, Gonzalo Higuaín who is in outstanding form with 3 hat-tricks in his last 4 games, returned to the side in place of Benzema who had scored against his old side Lyon in midweek. As reported by AS, Kaka started in place of Özil.

Cristiano Ronaldo had scored 7 goals in his previous 4 appearances against Málaga.

1st Half

The game started under a little controversy with the referee forced to make penalty decisions at both ends. The first was for Madrid with Ronaldo going down under the challenge from Toulalan, at the other end Joaquín needed little encouragement to hit the deck after Khedira hung a leg out. Both were waved away, although in both situations there was contact. The only difference between the two calls being Toulalan was withdrawing his leg, as Khedira's was firmly planted in the ground.

Both sides pressed early on and kept a high line, the only real difference being the pressure applied to the centre-backs from the opposing striker. Higuaín pressed well, assisted by the attacking 3 and stopped the centre-backs from bringing the ball out from the back. Rondón didn't apply much pressure and the Madrid back four were able to play the ball round in a little more comfort.

Di María

His variation in possession kept the Andalusians guessing throughout the first 45 minutes. Di María had given an indication of what he was looking to do as he cut inside 2 minutes before the opening goal but hit a wayward shot. When he picked up the ball this time he weaved with the ball cutting inside but away from goal, a clever pass slotted through for Higuaín. In the 2nd goal, what can be seen from the picture below are two Málaga players looking to close down the Argentinean, one touch inside and a superbly curled delivery enabled Ronaldo to tap home. The celebration though was cringe worthy at best as CR7 attempted to complete a dance routine with Marcelo.

After the first goal Málaga sat deep, forming a 4-4-1-1 without the ball. In the centre of midfield there pressing stopped as they seemed concerned that Real would just play in behind again. Ronaldo's 2nd and Madrid's 3rd illustrated this as he was able to shoot from distance. The fourth goal was comedy defending from a corner, although nothing should be taken away from Ronaldo's improvisation as he flicked the ball in the air to complete his hat-trick.

2nd Half

Málaga were much improved in the second half and this was probably down to three reasons. The first would have been Pellegrini's reaction to his players, a half time team talk will have forced a number of players to step up there performances. The second was a return to the pressing which had served them well for the opening 10 minutes in-particularly in the central midfield as they pushed higher up the pitch. The third was a more direct style, when you're trailing 0-4 it seems pointless to delay getting the ball forward as quickly as possible. Real Madrid clearly took their foot off the pedal a little as the game became more even. Málaga hit the woodwork twice with a free-kick from Cazorla and a half volley from substitute Seba Fernández. The formations from both sides remained the same as José seemed content with the result and Manuel looked to limit the damage, the substitution of Cazorla with 20 minutes remaining showed the Chilean had one eye on the midweek games.


Málaga's game plan seemed to go out of the window after the initial goal. The inverted wingers Ronaldo and Di María ran the game which was effectively over before half time.

Post Match

Manuel Pellegrini

"We will not change our philosophy of the game against any opponent. Even after today, I know we will do well this season."

José Mourinho

"You cannot compare the first half to the second. They weren't good because of us. In the second half they could have scored a couple of goals and allowed the game to be more level. But what we did in the first half was fantastic"

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