Mourinho said that Real Madrid was very bad and Barcelona was very good. He went on to add that it was a good loss for them because his team now realizes that they still have work to do on the training ground. I know you are thinking what made Barcelona so good? Some of you may be thinking it was obvious, but there are some details that I believe made the difference.
At the next level, match-ups are crucial. Not only player for player, but within the zones or bands as they are called in modern soccer. The most important being in midfield. Khedira, Alonso, and Ozil were no match for Xavi, Busquetes and Iniesta. Their cohesion, movement and passing sequences were impossible to deal with. Abidal was used to neutralize Ronaldo, so he sat a little deeper. Alves pushed high as usual , so this forced Di Maria to sit back to protect his outside back. Puyol gave cover to Abidal,as he is better suited to dealing with Ronaldo’s trickery. Puyol, at times, switched positions with Pique when Ronaldo switched flanks with Di Maria.
In addition, Barcelona pressed high up the pitch. This made it very difficult for Real to establish a rhythm. They were stifled in midfield and had no time in possession. This frustrated Real Madrid. People do not realize how hard Barcelona works to win the ball back high. It is easy to miss, because they are the best club team in the world when it comes to keeping the ball and their attacking style of football is beautiful to look at. They are also extremely fit. Movement is constant and they have to ability to create a numerical advantage on both sides of the ball.
Barcelona also has an unusual advantage by having the luxury of fielding eight Spanish National Team players on the field at one time. The chemistry and understanding of each others roles and functions were way too much for Real Madrid. Barcelona also have a player called Messi. He is the best player on the planet right now. He has the ability to play deep and threaten with penetrative passes. He can start wide on the right and cut inside to great affect (Real did deal with this well). He is fantastic in 1v1 situations. He can score goals and create goals. He is a threat from set pieces and he makes team efficient decisions when in possession. He knows when to be a facilitator of the game and recognizes when he needs to dictate proceedings. His most important attribute is his willingness to work for the team.
Let us not forget that Barcelona also played at home. This was a huge boost to players , but we must give credit to the team for a performance worthy of being used as an educational piece.