Pride is a good thing but as with all things it must be curbed to be within reason. José Mourinho has gone way beyond reason this season and his astronomical ego has ceased being an asset in his ‘mind games’ with media and rival managers. Instead, the aura of José is dissipating and we are left to wonder if we are witnessing yet another third season unraveling.
His Sky Sports interview/rant after the most recent loss to Southampton said volumes about his current state of mind. José is feeling the pressure and he now feels the need to pre-empt questions about his future as Chelsea manager. His comments in his seven minute bizarre monologue that was sort of response to a question but quickly became a speech were telling.
That he remains defiant in his job and has said that he will have to be fired to leave tells that he cares. The true reason he cares this much could be about his ego. After all, he wouldn’t want to become firmly stereotyped as a short term manager. He returned to Chelsea to dispel that perception but as Chelsea’s season continues to be a nightmare we have to wonder if his time is in fact running out at Stamford Bridge.
Even if he remains, and one feels he will be given a real chance to prove himself out of respect we know that Roman Abramovich does not have unlimited patience. It fell apart before so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that it could fall apart again.
He won’t budge
Millions of football fans have been clamouring for the same changes. They all know the glaring issues at Chelsea. Aside from the obvious under-performance by Chelsea’s stars there are issues of confidence, perhaps fatigue, and discontent at decisions that have led to this stuttering start.
We will struggle to find Chelsea players that can put their hand up confidently and say they are pleased with their own performances to date this season. Nobody, nobody, has acquitted themselves in the manner that they would have hoped after romping to the title in 2014/15. Costa seems more interested in fighting and harassing opponents. Fàbregas doesn’t even have his customary early season form, Hazard is a marked man, and Ivanović is seemingly undergoing a decline brought about by being played almost exclusively. Indeed, Ivanović has missed only six league games in three seasons and on the wrong side of 30 this takes a toll. Therein lies a major issue with José; he hardly ever rotates his squad. That will have its effect and when your standout player undergoes a dip in form where he can’t just be given the ball to work his magic then London we have a problem.
The lack of attacking sophistication at Chelsea versus the rest is another matter for another day maybe. When one or two goals are no longer enough then those wins that looked so efficient become draws and losses. If Hazard or another doesn’t produce brilliance then again there is an issue. Look at how Chelsea have been scoring. The amount of brilliant strikes and free kicks might look good but how much can you rely on that? Goals from open play from actually breaking down the opponent have been too infrequent.
Maybe all he needs is a good rest and one feels he can no longer be a weekly starter and must now be managed. Those writing him off probably have not considered the obvious fatigue that is contributing to his dip.
This is but one of many instances where Mourinho’s ego has been a liability. His handling of the Eva Carneiro matter was another revealing one. He seems incapable of admitting that his judgement might not be the best all the time. Mourinho appears to be a captain who is willing to go down with his ship Captain Edward Smith style (of RMS Titanic fame infamy) rather than admit, in his case, that there might be another solution other than his own. One can place three other EPL managers in this category, his dear friend Arsène Wenger, Louis van Gaal, and, Brendan Rodgers (well…). Make what you want of that trio.
One feels that the results up to December will prove decisive in Mourinho’s future. Something that seemed unthinkable a few months ago is now being discussed and José has to shoulder a lot of the blame.
Once he loses the dressing room that’s it and his decisions such as persisting with Ivanović, his weak explanation as to why Baba Rahman has not replaced him or why Cesc Fàbregas continues to play every week despite being ineffective going forward and a defensive liability on more than one occasion defy logic; but can we really be surprised? This contributes to Ivanović’s ineffectiveness by the way. At the end of the day Chelsea are class and José is class; but football is a very fickle business and the best advice for the manager is for him to suppress that ego for a minute and listen to the deafening voice of the people.
That’s part of being the best Chelsea manager ever, José. Or is it best in the universe in life, ever? Mother Nature help him.