Mourinho mind games or intelligence as Madrid choose Etihad

Real Madrid have taken a strange decision to train at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium ahead of Tuesday's Champions League tie with Man Utd.

So the norm is that the visiting club in a Champions League tie train in front of the media at the oppositions ground ahead of a game but on Thursday it was confirmed that Madrid would use Manchester City's Etihad Stadium instead to train.

No explanation has been given by the Spanish club but some feel boss Jose Mourinho is keen to stop representatives of United spying on the session, a move made by United coach Sir Alex Ferguson on several occasions.

However one other theory could come into the play. The reigning champions have been in dreadful form away from home this season and have only recently picked up in that sense, beating Barcelona famously at Camp Nou on Tuesday night.

But, that result although perfect in every sense was helped due to Mourinho's change in the way his team approach and prepare for away games, choosing to fly on the game of the day instead of a day before for example made them fresher and less engrosed.

Another reason for this is that Madrid have been picking and choosing their games this season, preparing themselves to win that elusive 10th European title and it is that reason that makes Mourinho's decision a good one.

The game against Barcelona in midweek was a final, they always are when the two side's meet and they are full of heavy pressure, intencity and controversy. His players and indeed himself must be at full capacity, full concentration.

Therefore, the onlooking media, fans and possible spys put a burden on the players and the coaches themselves. Mourinho demands full concentration and expects his team to walk out on the pitch fully focused, something they did brilliantly against Barca.

In truth, the decision may have no bearing on the game at all but if Mourinho wants to prepare this way then who are we to stop him?

image: © Free-ers

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