Get On Mourinho’s Bandwagon, Not His Back

As we head swiftly into April, with weeks rather than months of the season left, it’s hard not to drag out a cliché or two. “If you’d told us in August we’d be top…..”, “6 point gap, game in hand….”, “it’s in our own hands…” But realistically, who wouldn’t rather be in Chelsea’s position right now? And yet, for weeks, it’s been one grumble after another about lack lustre performances as confidence wavers on and off the pitch. So what’s the score?
Good teams lose, they also under perform for periods of time, it happens. It’s not the end of the world although there’s certainly been suggestions it might signal the beginning of the end. Catastrophising much?
So the players are showing signs of fatigue? Hardly surprising given the amount of games played probably with a smaller resource to choose from than Chelsea might have been used to over the years but realistically, should Mourinho really be beaten with that particular stick? Quite apart from FFP, we’ve seen the effect having bigger squads can have. We either have unhappy and unmotivated players running their mouths off to the press about their lack of opportunities, or we have the press assuming that’s the case and printing it anyway. And media circus to contend with aside, would we rather have increased numbers of poorer quality players to choose from, or fewer, better quality? It’s a no-brainer, so we have a smaller squad of a pretty decent quality.
Rotation then, why can’t Mourinho do more of that? Because he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t I expect. Mourinho knows who he wants to play and when the options are open to him, that’s what he’ll go with. Given we’re in the position we’re in, has that really been more down to luck than judgement?
At the back end of any season, half the results will come from grinding out results in ugly games where the opposition were shockingly shite the week before yet suddenly manage to raise their game when faced with title challengers. It’s called Sod’s Law. That’s not to say throwing away leads is acceptable, it’s unnerving and it could be costly but anyone who thinks Mourinho wouldn’t be pointing that out needs their head looking at.
Losing isn’t in Jose Mourinho’s make-up and watching Chelsea play below par, go out of the Champions League and have their title chances questioned, will sit just as uncomfortably for the Chelsea boss as it does for the supporters. That Jose Mourinho is a winner is unquestionable, he’s made a very successful career out of it and to question his ability to continue to do that, in whatever way he needs to, is frankly bordering on the hysterical.
He might not be the same Mourinho who won back to back titles with Chelsea, there’s less swagger and often more consideration before he opens his mouth these days. It’s human nature for individuals to grow and develop in their roles and Jose has certainly done that. He’s mellowed, he has a lot less to prove now and seemingly a lot less pressure from Roman Abramovich as well. Not that the Chelsea owner isn’t as keen to win as he always has been but more that he clearly trusts Mourinho sufficiently now to do things his own way.
Realistically, as a club and a squad, Chelsea are in pretty good shape. We’re fighting our battles on the pitch and that’s as it should be. Yes, it’s ugly at times and there’ll still be the odd bloody nose over the coming weeks but there’s a world of difference between being a bit punch drunk and being out for the count.

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