Jose: Through Doubt and Derision

So, after the win against Fulham, Jose Mourinho took the opportunity to explain his stance on Juan Mata.  He did so openly, honestly – and in English – and yet, given the constant questioning, second guessing and downright disrespect aimed at him since, he might as well have been speaking double Dutch.

In front of however many millions might have watched his post-match interview, Jose Mourinho quite clearly praised the Spaniard whilst insisting he wants both Oscar and Mata in Chelsea’s first XI. Yet, predictably the headlines continue to label Mata an ‘outcast’, ‘frozen out’ by a manager who has apparently made several ‘debatable’ decisions since returning to Chelsea. For me though, following the very frank and thorough rationale shared with the watching world on Saturday, I’d suggest the only reason Mourinho’s decisions are ‘debatable’ is because every single one he makes is examined under a microscope like a piece of forensic evidence.

He was entirely right in his conclusion that whilst every team in the Premier League (apart from Everton) has lost a game so far and it’s regarded as normal for them, for Chelsea – and Jose Mourinho – it’s regarded as a crisis. Yet Jose Mourinho isn’t saying or doing anything that doesn’t make complete sense.

For Mourinho, the number 10 isn’t just about creative ability and rightly so. We’ve relied on that from Mata for the past couple of seasons, over-relied in fact, and whilst he’s undoubtedly been our player of the year two seasons running, maybe that’s because the team and style of play was set up in such a way that, that was inevitable – and if we set ourselves up the same again this season, we’d get the same results, including our final position in the league? Mourinho clearly recognises that and isn’t prepared to settle for it, but should we make him wrong on that? Given his career successes to date, is it really the case that everyone from the press and pundits to every armchair supporter in the country knows better? Of course it isn’t.

Juan Mata is second to none in terms of creativity, no question he’s a delight to watch in attack but he has his limitations. If we expected him to track-back, win the ball, or put as much effort into defence as attack should the game dictate it, then we’d be disappointed. The reason we haven’t been disappointed in Mata since his arrival is exactly as Mourinho says – because we were playing reactive football and as such, Mata did what was asked of him by being creative when he got the chance.

Different coaches bring with them different ideas, not all of those ideas will match ours and some might even confuse or displease us but surely we’ve seen enough from Jose in the past to at least give him the benefit of the doubt – as he told Jamie Redknapp, he is the manager after all. For God sake, even the United support seem to trust Moyes over Zaha/Kagawa and that makes no sense to me whatsoever especially after yesterday’s debacle.

It’s beyond question that Oscar fits into the number 10 role nicely and he’s repaid Mourinho’s faith in him so far this season by fulfilling that role.  He’s creative but he’ll press as well, when he’s had to hassle to win the ball he’s done it and if being in the right place at the right time for a scruffy goal is required, then that’s another box ticked.  In short, he’s responding to Mourinho’s management – and not just Oscar – Jon Obi Mikel is a player who’s undoubtedly been underrated and undervalued at Chelsea for years, yet under Jose, his head’s up, his shoulders are back and he’ll defy anyone questioning his worth. Damn, the man will even score now!

Of course, it’d be great if our strikers could show the same level of response but you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. As for blaming Mourinho for that situation though, he made it clear he wanted Wayne Rooney in the transfer window, for whatever reason we didn’t get him, so late in the day he added Samuel Eto’o. Now, at 32 and clearly lacking fitness on arrival this is far from ideal and some might point to Lukaku being sent out on loan again but taking the very simplistic example of the 20 year old’s reaction to being given the responsibility of a penalty against Bayern, are we seriously to heap such weight of expectation on his shoulders throughout a Premier League campaign? I fully appreciate he’s scoring for Everton instead of us, but without wishing to sound too disrespectful, there’s less pressure to weigh him down at Everton so he’s free to play his own game.  As much as Chelsea supporters might whinge at him being on loan, if we threw him in week-in-week-out and he didn’t perform, they’d barrack him as well.  Mourinho will know that, so for me, sending Lukaku out for one more season is absolutely the right thing to do.

So anyway, in the absence of any truly world class strikers making themselves available in the summer, to Torres and Ba, Mourinho adds a striker with experience of playing at the likes of Inter Milan and Barcelona. Of course, the last club Eto’o played at was Anzhi, so as far from La Liga as Katie Price is from celibacy, but that was reflected in the substantial pay cut he took on agreeing a 12 month contract. So however this works out, it’s hardly the most ridiculous deal in the world is it? And to be fair, whilst Eto’o remains off the pace, his movement showed more promise against Fulham, even Torres looked ok when he came on for us – and if Mourinho can do anything with him when no-one else has managed it, then he deserves a bloody knighthood nevermind anything else!

The point is, like it or not, Mourinho saw the sort of football we’ve been playing in his absence and (like a lot of us), hasn’t been impressed by it.  Mourinho thinks change is required, not just for change sake but because what we’ve done for years hasn’t been good enough. Patience is called for but above even that, respect. Even Avram Grant got that on some level (not by me, admittedly), so the fact that the press can’t find it in themselves to extend the same to a manager of Jose Mourinho’s calibre is just another shining example of their propensity for pettiness over professionalism.

Chelsea and Jose Mourinho will no doubt rise above it.

5 Responses to “Jose: Through Doubt and Derision”

  1. Yes, if we continue to build the team around mata, we will be beautiful at times, but slow, bullied and chasing lost possession to a 4th place finish. I dont understand why everybody is ganging up on Jose for leaving out mata, as if he is messi. Without Mata, and slowly the addition of schurrle, de bruyne , willian, and maybe a lampard replacement, we look like we will be soon be playing the german style, swift, strong, flair attacking and defending. But for that hazard also has to be more assists-minded instead of dribbling and shooting himself. Must be so frustrating for the strikers.
    Dont put pressure on Jose, he will build a winning team.

  2. what utter drivel. Mourinho should have had the GUTS to come out this summer and say he wanted to go in a different direction instead of playing games with people’s careers and lives by telling flat out lies. This man denied that he wanted to change directions etc etc and that lasted about 3 mos. He knew all along that he wanted Oscar to be the number 10 but strung Mata along -as well he did with Abramovich- then waited until the window closed before utterly disrespecting Mata along with others. He knew full well he would have NEVER gotten the job if he was truthful and upfront with his plans. The media was right about him and his plans all along. He has no intentions of changing or adapting to the players he was ALWAYS going to get rid of the ones that don’t suit the only way he knows how to manage.

  3. drivel? Or just not in agreement with your opinion? The way supporters let themselves get sucked in by the media and turn it into an in-house war is embarrassing

  4. some people fail to see something. Maybe they dont understand football or basically, they are to emotionally driven.
    I like Mata very much, he is a good player, but sometimes football at a particular age came make a very good footballer irrelevant likewise the tactics of manager.
    Check barca for example, as good as messi is, he start pressing/defending from the front. Why was Ibrahimovic not fitted to Barca tactics? Yes he is a good striker blah blah blah, but he wont press, without the team having control of the ball he is irrelevant. So also is Mata.
    With Mata not pressing, or defending we a very much a team fighting for 4 position.

    Dont forget that 2 seasons ago he had the hight assist etc, we were 6th in the lg also last season we were 4th..

    It takes much more that assissts and goals of a player without pressing in this age to win the league.

    Like some guys forgot that wven Rooney do defend.

  5. I absolutely agree with your write-up. For this, I will be visiting this blog on a regular. Oscar is our new No. 10 like it or not. He is a double leg player, has more intensity and usually seen in games more often than Mata. Finally we love Oscar. True Blues! The Manager knows better.