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Chelsea Freefall: Is Mourinho Going To Be Sacked?

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Chelsea’s José Mourinho could be facing a pivotal crossroads for his future.

In the 2003/2004 season José Mourinho performed, what is by all accounts, a managerial miracle; he went on to win the UEFA Champions League with a team that wasn’t from one of the big five leagues in Europe (England, Germany, Spain, Italy, France). He took a modest FC Porto team and bested the likes of Manchester United and Olympique Lyonnaise on his way to a convincing 3-0 win over AS Monaco in the final. The year afterwards he was to be signed on as Chelsea’s manager, where he would helm their resurgence to the top of English football. Fast forward a decade and you’ll see a very different picture, Chelsea’s prodigal son returned once more – but it seems as though fate and circumstance have conspired to send him on his way again.

Chelsea are current champions, but have all but relinquished their ability to defend their title a quarter of the way into the new season. Last year, Mourinho managed to deliver Chelsea another title, built on the back of a resolute and formidable defence and a consistently acceptable attack. They didn’t have the attacking verve of his first Chelsea squad, but they convincingly managed to dispatch almost all opponents, quite frequently as a result of Eden Hazard’s habit of picking up possession and engineering a goal from nothing.

Enter the 2015/2016 Premier league season and pretty much the exact same squad is languishing in 15th place after 10 games, with 11 points to their name. Let’s put this into perspective – David Moyes had 17 points after 10 games when he led United to their worst finish as current champions in a quarter of a century. A team has to be doing quite badly to perform worse than that United side. For a team to be current champions and to be posting those sorts of figures is quite unheard of. The question on everyone’s (maybe mainly Chelsea fans’) lips is: where has it all gone wrong?

Now the knee-jerk reaction is to blame the manager. Fans do it. Pundits do it. Boards do it. Club owners do it. If your club isn’t doing what you think they should be, everyone’s first port of call is to drop the manager and press that reset button. Is that what Chelsea should be doing? Possibly, but it would belie a few more variables to blame their current predicament on José Mourinho alone.

The fact of the matter is that, like all squads, Chelsea is in need of a bit of a break and some reinforcements. Three out of their four starting defenders are simply too old to be playing two games a week. John Terry is 34, Branislav Ivanovic is 31 and Gary Cahill is 29. Further, Jose Mourinho’s managerial habit has always been to choose an ideal starting eleven, and unless injury or severe fatigue dictates, he always plays that starting eleven. The three attackers most responsible for Chelsea’s title charge last season – Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas are all visibly fatigued and ineffective this season, much like their defensive counterparts.

Jose Mourinho

As far as issues on the pitch go, Chelsea’s form can be put down to an aged defence, and a burnt out attack. Youngsters like Kurt Zouma and Baba Rahman can’t be expected to instantly carry an entire back line. They need time to adapt and form an understanding with their fellow defenders. Further up the pitch, their goal scorers are simply too fatigued to have the energy and dynamism that they did last time around. Chelsea had a markedly quiet transfer window this summer, with a lack of quality signings being brought in at key positions. Simply put, over half the team is still trying to recover from last season. Eden Hazard played 55 games for club and country last season, and started all 38 of Chelsea’s league games. Fabregas played 48 games and started 33 times in the league, these are unusually high demands on any player.

Now, I’ve discussed the squad at length, and I haven’t really mentioned Mourinho’s impact thus far – which might lead some to believe he’s innocent in this affair. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. It’s not Mourinho’s fault that additions to the squad weren’t made, as it was well documented during the transfer window that high profile, expensive targets were avoided by Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich for whatever reason. What they needed were established names that could take the burden off of stalwarts like John Terry and Ivanovic. What they got were youngsters that may turn into those established names, but not any time soon.

That being said, what is Jose Mourinho’s fault is how he has reacted to Chelsea’s aberrational plummet. We all know he’s a divisive and prickly figure, but he has reached the zenith of what has been a developing habit of asocial egoism. Beginning at Inter Milan, where his tenure was characterised by insulting antagonism of fellow managers and the Italian press, he quickly gained the reputation of mouthy upstart. His indomitable record protected him from too much criticism from fans or pundits though. When he departed for Spain to manage Los Blancos, his forays into controversy followed closely behind. He developed a fractious relationship with then Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, which was swiftly followed by causing divisions within the Madrid dressing room. After freezing out Iker Casillas, a club legend, he created an untenable position in Spain that caused several players to allegedly question his methods. On the way to his return to Chelsea from Madrid he made many enemies in the Spanish press, a habit from his time in Italy, and a mainstay of his current tenure with Chelsea.

Over the last ten years of his career a trend has become apparent. When Jose Mourinho is winning; he is the Special One, he is confident, he smiles, and he jokes. When he loses, the isolated siege mentality comes to the fore with predictable bitterness. At Inter he insulted fellow managers and journalists, at Madrid he poked a fellow professional in the eye after a match, created divisions within his dressing room and continued his antagonism of the press. So far at Chelsea, he has chastised a team doctor on the pitch, thrown several of his first team players under the bus in post-match conferences, and accused the English FA of pursuing an agenda against Chelsea Football Club with biased officiating decisions. Across his career it is clear that when the going gets tough, Mourinho looks outwards to assign the blame.

There is a marked similarity between in his behavior right now and his behavior when he has left clubs previously. The murmurs from the press and fans have begun. With each loss, each odd selection decision, like playing a wide forward at left-back, he coaxes Roman Abramovich closer and closer to dropping the axe. If Chelsea are to resurrect this season, either Mourinho has to take responsibility for their revival, or the Chelsea board will have to find a candidate capable of captaining what appears to be a quickly sinking ship. Entertaining personality he may be, but the football community, Chelsea fans included, appear to be tiring of his antics and bad performances. Can Chelsea’s season be saved by Mourinho, or do they need a calmer hand to lead them up the table?

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57 Comments

57 Comments

  1. Chelsea fan

    October 27, 2015 at 20:22

    I really disagree with the squad strength. Matic looks bang off, terry and Iva are looking well passed it and to have Mikel in a squad like Chelsea’s is ludicrous. Let’s not get in to Falcao.

    • Jhb_Pensioner

      October 27, 2015 at 20:26

      I agree the last few transfer windows have been shocking for Chelsea. We did sign fabregas but how did we ever think Salah and Victor Moses would ever be Chelsea quality. You look back at squads of past i.e. Zola, Di Matteo, Hasselbaink, Lamps, Drogba, Anelka, etc. all of these players had a spark, not necessarily a flair like the newer players like Oscar and Hazard but they made it happen on the pitch. They hated losing and did everything in their power to win.

      • Derek G

        October 27, 2015 at 20:49

        It’s that heart factor. That burning desire to win for the club.

      • The Britannia End

        October 27, 2015 at 21:02

        Bring back the winning mentality

      • Trust in Mourinho

        October 27, 2015 at 21:05

        No one in that team is kissing the badge

      • Don't hassle the baink

        October 27, 2015 at 21:17

        Good point

    • cape Town Blue

      October 27, 2015 at 20:32

      Personally I think we should have let go of Hazard, got £150m for him, let got of Mikel, Terry and potentially Oscar and started building the squad up from there.

      • 6 God

        October 27, 2015 at 20:37

        I definitely agree with letting go of Hazard cue really didn’t look great last year. I don’t know if the Player of the year selectors were watching the same Hazard as I was!?!?!?!? Maybe they were watching Thorgan Hazard??????

      • old Blue

        October 27, 2015 at 21:04

        Get that man a bells

    • KTBFFH Morningside

      October 27, 2015 at 20:35

      There was talk that the signing issues were from the top and not Mourinho’s lack of trying. Apparently management felt that if they won the league with that squad they could do it again. Which is a joke because we looked way off the pace last year and still won it.

      • hazardous

        October 27, 2015 at 20:41

        Says a lot about the premier league. Also considering that there is no hope for any English team in the Champions league

        • madridsta

          October 27, 2015 at 21:04

          Not the best league in the world. Look at Spain now that is the best league

    • Come one Chels

      October 27, 2015 at 21:03

      Falcao. Face palm.

  2. Chelsea fan 021

    October 27, 2015 at 20:28

    As much as people want to hate Mourinho and get on his back he is one of the greatest coaches in the clubs history. What happened with the backroom staff is an it of a joke. No doctor is bigger than the club, they are there to do a job. Sadly there was an uneasiness at the club and that seemed to set something off.

    • 11 Drogba 11

      October 27, 2015 at 20:31

      I don’t think it was really that incident that threw everything off but I can agree that people shouldn’t be second guessing Mourinho. I think that is what happened with certain players thinking that they are bigger than the club and aren’t playing for the club. They look like they are simply there to cash their pay checks.

      • XD Champ

        October 27, 2015 at 20:35

        No heart on the field

        • 6 God

          October 27, 2015 at 20:40

          Absolutely none!

    • Drogba Legend

      October 27, 2015 at 20:38

      He has either come first or second. His first season back was one of his worst seasons. He should have seen that this Chelsea squad wasn’t the Chelsea of old.

  3. CFC Family

    October 27, 2015 at 20:39

    I think Mourinho should build the squad around Willian. He is playing superbly.

    • blue blue blue

      October 27, 2015 at 21:11

      Agreed!

    • Arkham Knight

      October 27, 2015 at 21:12

      Definitely

    • blue and nothing else matters

      October 27, 2015 at 21:12

      He’s my player of the season pick

  4. Jeff

    October 27, 2015 at 20:41

    I don’t know why everyone is freaking out. Liverpool have gone through it. Arsenal too. Their is just a reshuffle of power.

  5. Clive

    October 27, 2015 at 20:45

    I think the “prodigal son” reference is out of place???? Mourinho didn’t return to Chelsea with nothing. He returned with tons of silverware from Italy and Spain. I don’t think he was reckless with his time away from the club.

    • dustin

      October 27, 2015 at 20:46

      Ha ha ha ha

    • joburg blue

      October 27, 2015 at 20:47

      Someone is either an English teacher or a theology specialist.

      • lex

        October 27, 2015 at 21:10

        Ha ha ha ha ha ha

    • clive

      October 27, 2015 at 21:11

      Or just listened in class?

    • Clive

      October 27, 2015 at 21:16

      But all in all a great article!

    • nacho

      October 28, 2015 at 09:13

      Maybe it was the right reference???? With all the time away from the club what has he to show for it? 3 seasons back, one 3rd place, one capital one cup, a premier league and what looks like it will be a battle against relegation?

  6. 6 God

    October 27, 2015 at 20:48

    Chelsea are looking weak in defense, weak in the middle of the park and in front of goal. How do you fix that?

  7. Blue Is The Colour

    October 27, 2015 at 20:52

    It’s difficult because Chelsea have had such incredible squads before. The likes of Ballack, Deco, Alex, Malouda, Kalou, Anelka, Drogba, Both of the Coles, Paulo. Such quality and players who wanted to win at all costs. This squad although has some of the old guys isn’t up to it.

    • King Carlo

      October 27, 2015 at 20:54

      Build a team around Thibault (when he is back), Cahill , Zouma, Fabregas, William, and Kennedy. I would say Costa but I don’t think he’s going to be at the club for too much longer.

    • Nevin's Men

      October 27, 2015 at 21:00

      I don’t think people should dwell on the teams we had. That won’t help at all. We need to start building the team up again. We need to cut off surplus players

  8. king of the Kop

    October 27, 2015 at 20:55

    There is talk of Chelsea signing Pep?

    • Louisville

      October 27, 2015 at 20:55

      I don’t think it will realistically happen but that is the type of football people want to see. Fast. Exciting. Attacking.

  9. jules

    October 27, 2015 at 20:56

    It wouldn’t be the first time Mourinho is fired! Bring back Avram.

    • Durban Blue Poison

      October 27, 2015 at 20:57

      No bring back Carlo then Robbie. Or Robbie first then Carlo. Wouldn’t mind winning the Champions League again.

      • keeping up with the Mourinho's

        October 27, 2015 at 20:58

        Keep the Chelsea cycle going

        • I'm so blue

          October 27, 2015 at 21:09

          Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    • bro code

      October 27, 2015 at 20:58

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    • blue

      October 27, 2015 at 21:07

      Hahahaha

  10. ollie

    October 27, 2015 at 21:02

    The club needs to get back to winning ways because the stadium is getting a make over that I’m sure will cost millions!

  11. maxi

    October 27, 2015 at 21:06

    Chelsea need to stop playing that whole “hazard can drift around and do whatever he wants” football. He pulls his own players out of position and they struggle to settle in to games.

    • 6 God

      October 27, 2015 at 21:07

      I’ve noticed that as well. Players aren’t settling in to the game as much.

  12. Bloem Blue

    October 27, 2015 at 21:09

    Let’s see what happens tonight. These bans that Mourinho keeps picking up. Holland look is like he’s getting greyer by the second.

  13. Chelsea Fan za

    October 27, 2015 at 21:15

    Let’s all not get ahead of ourselves. We’ll see after tonight’s game

  14. Chelsea Fan za

    October 27, 2015 at 21:16

    Great article btw

  15. Stamford's Lion

    October 28, 2015 at 09:01

    Well last night was a stuff up. Chelsea looked the better team but had too many attempts at goal. It just takes 1 good counter attack and that’s that.

    • jhb cfc

      October 28, 2015 at 09:03

      I know we lost but we looked great. Willian, Baba and Rami looked legit. Mikel started off well but he needs to pick passes that move the ball to a player in a forward position. Hazard looked electric, slowly picking up form that he had lost – the pen at the end was really shitty but those things happen.

      • trapzilla

        October 28, 2015 at 09:04

        He’s missed 2 from 2

      • first time comment

        October 28, 2015 at 09:06

        I really liked Zouma on the right. He is a better central defender but I think that actually may be the position for him. JT and Cahill looked hungry at the corners. I think although it was a loss it will be a turn around Chelsea need against LFC.

      • Sunninghill Blue

        October 28, 2015 at 09:10

        Costa was looking great and moving well but is now injured for Liverpool. Remy looked great as well. I really like his movement off the ball. I really don’t think he should be Chelsea’s 3rd choice striker. I think it should go Costa, Remy and Kennedy. So now Remy and Kennedy. Falcao needs to move on. Chelsea will be the last big club he plays for unless Monaco take him back. I reckon they might trade him for a washing machine?

        • chelsea blue

          October 28, 2015 at 09:10

          Hahahahahahahaha I think they would

    • blues

      October 28, 2015 at 09:13

      Well stoke did it.

  16. Kop King

    October 28, 2015 at 09:14

    You know how the saying goes “if you can do it on a cold, wet night at stoke…” And Chelsea didn’t.

    • cliff

      October 28, 2015 at 15:51

      Poking the bear

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