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Can Mourinho stop Barcelona?

sports Updated: Aug 26, 2011 23:26 IST

With Barcelona having strengthened their squad over the summer, Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid face an ominous task in preventing the Catalans from winning a fourth straight Spanish title.

In recent years Real have been known as La Liga's big spenders, with president Florentino Perez paying lavishly for high-profile figures like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Xabi Alonso, while Barcelona have been regarded as the club who nurture their own talent through their youth system.

However, this summer has been vastly different for the two giants of the Spanish game.

Despite another league and Champions League double, Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola looked for reinforcements. His number one target, Cesc Fabregas, finally made the move from Arsenal after yet another summer of rumours and conjecture.

Madrid appear to have realised at long last that simply throwing cash at the best players in the world will not build a team that can overcome a Barca side whose well-oiled passing has taken years of playing together to perfect.

That seems to owe to the influence of Mourinho, whose own position at the club was strengthened by the resignation of director general Jorge Valdano.

That handed the Portuguese greater power over the management and construction of the team and he has concentrated on further bolstering the backline with the captures of Fabio Coentrao and Raphael Varane. Midfielders Nuri Sahin and Hamit Altintop, meanwhile, have arrived from the Bundesliga. The only attacking player to arrive is Jose Callejon, who returns to his first club after a good season at Espanyol.

The attack actually looks slightly weaker after Mourinho opted against making Emmanuel Adebayor's loan from Manchester City a permanent deal, but the coach does not see that as a problem. "We have two players per position and a balanced squad that I have confidence in and I believe that they have confidence in me also,” he said.