Russian owner Roman Abramovich isn’t afraid of pulling the trigger and Jose Mourinho is in the firing line. After the 2-1 home loss to Southampton the club’s board held a crisis meeting at HQ while a gathering of journalists lingered like vultures surrounding a dying animal. They smelt blood but “The Special One” was given Chelsea’s backing, at least for the meantime.
The Portuguese coach had the English media eating out of his hand when he arrived for his first season in 2004. Coming off the back of Champions League success with Porto, the charismatic manager swept all before him to take back-to-back Premier League titles and solidify himself as the top boss in the game. A treble-winning season with Inter Milan and a La Liga title with Real Madrid did nothing to dent his ego, but his 3 seasons at the Bernabeu changed Jose.
First of all he lost his devilish young looks, transforming from a glowing Iberian to a withered old man in the space of a few years. The stress of coaching took a toll on the most confident man in the sport and since that time Mourinho’s image of superiority has proven to be a façade. He was sacked acrimoniously before by Abramovich in 2007 and whose to say history won’t repeat itself again?
The bizarre quotes that are emanating from Stamford Bridge are a worrying sign for Jose loyalists. It appears the walls are closing as Chelsea’s league position spirals downward. The fans are beginning to turn and the players are growing ever frustrated by their style. Roman wants his team winning and playing an attractive brand of football that reflects on him well, so it might be a matter of time before Jose is given his marching orders from West London for a second time. Here are the top 15 reasons Abramovich should sack Jose Mourinho.
16 Going Mad
When the television broadcaster had the chance to pick Jose’s brain after the Southampton loss, he wasn’t expecting to listen to a 7-minute rant. The full transcript is worth reading if you’re partial to a bit of schadenfreude from the Blues boss. If he said the same thing with a straitjacket on nobody would bat an eyelid. During the epic speech he blamed everyone from the media to the referees without ever taking control of the narrative, something he has always managed throughout his career.
15 John Terry Tension
John Terry continues to dominate the Chelsea dressing room. It’s this fact that has helped him guide the Blues to success under various different managerial appointments, but Jose knows the aging skipper is fading as a defensive force in the Premier League. Former Arsenal player Martin Keown believes Mourinho is purposely isolating Terry to send a message that he is top dog. The problem is Terry is like a cockroach, surviving multiple attempts to oust him until he finds a way to return. Jose has dropped Terry for big games, even hooking him halfway through the Manchester City loss. Either the relationship has to be repaired, or one of them has to go.
14 Eva Carneiro Saga
The Chelsea medical team has become something of a lightning rod this season. The club’s female doctor Eva Carneiro was sacked 6 weeks after she went onto the field to tend to star playmaker Eden Hazard during their home game with Swansea. Jose vented his frustration at the 41-year-old doctor because he believed her naivety cost the team a chance to score in stoppage time. The pair clashed on the sidelines and a period of being frozen out was followed by an inquest where neither Carneiro nor Mourinho were interviewed about the incident. Allegations of the Portuguese making a sexiest remark were left unsubstantiated and the saga told the football world Mourinho would be willing to throw anyone under the bus if it suited him.
13 Shocking Football
Chelsea are simply horrid to watch this season. There is zero fluency in their passing and the big money signings aren’t delivering results. Abramovich has sacked managers for far less and while his 2014/15 title win was pragmatic, people easily forget how much they labored after Christmas to the championship. Their star players are lacking the bravery to get on the ball and dictate a game. They say the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If he maintains the status quo then Chelsea won’t be box office-worthy this season.
12 Stifling Creative Players
Mourinho has won titles by forcing the most gifted footballers to sacrifice their attacking game for the benefit of the team. He made decorated Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o a second fullback with Inter Milan and has done likewise with Eden Hazard, telling him to track back and defend at every opportunity. The likes of Cesc Fabregas, Willian and Oscar are given instructions to stop the opposition rather than expressing themselves. This is fine when the team is winning, but now the tide has turned and these guys are getting grumpy.
11 Carlo Ancelotti Availability
Very rarely will a set of circumstances like these fall into place. Carlo Ancelotti has spoken of a desire to return to English football, a manager who won the FA Cup and EPL title double with Chelsea months before he was sacked at Goodison Park the following season. The popular coach loves London, has proven success and an affinity with the club. The only question mark would surround his relationship with Roman Abramovich. If his pride didn’t get in the way, then there is no reason to suggest he wouldn’t have another crack at the Blues hot seat.
10 Picking Needless Fights
Mourinho is a creature of habit. He needs friction to galvanize and build an “us against them” mentality in his squad. Creating the drama out of nothing, he picks targets that he can have a dig at to get under their skin. Whether it’s fellow managers he perceives as threats, the press, ex professionals, referees or opposition supporters, Jose has used this tactic time and time again. But it’s getting old and stale, it’s no longer a ploy that works in his favor and he is beginning to lose his aura.
9 Arsene Wenger Obsession
One of said managers is Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. There is something about the Frenchman that irks Jose. Perhaps it’s his determination to play beautiful football, never coming under serious threat of the sack or having a great relationship with the media, Mourinho wants to take pot shots at the gunners coach at every opportunity. He’s called him a “voyeur” and a “specialist in failure,” always determined to have the last word. Much like the naughty kid in class, Jose’s obsession with Arsene will one day bare the phrase, “I know you are, but what am I?” It’s pathetic!
8 Branislav Ivanovic Selection
The Serbian’s form is so bad at the moment, when news leaked that the defender suffered an injury on international duty against Albania, Chelsea supporters on social media were jumping up for joy. Maybe that says more about the fickle nature of soccer fans, but it spoke to the dramatic fall from grace for the toughest and most revered right fullback in the Premier League. With the team collapsing in a heap this campaign, it defies belief that Ivanovic has remained in the team, yet it seems that choice might be taken out of Mourinho’s hands.
6 No Longer Media Darling
There once was a time where Mourinho could tell the British press to jump and they would all reply in unison, “how high Jose?” A tool that has worked so well in his favor is now turning on him, unable to dictate what is written about him. Reporters he had on a short leash stopped viewing him through rose-tinted glasses and see the malicious way he operates. The façade is over.
5 No Youth Coming Through
Chelsea’s youth academy seems to exist only in theory. Their junior teams actually happen to be incredibly successful, winning various tournaments for a number of years. But how many of these youngsters have cracked the first team? Not since John Terry in the early 2000s has an under-aged player risen through the ranks. Chelsea’s loan system sends a database list of players out to their feeder clubs and often sells them at a big profit. It’s a sound business model, yet it would be a hell of a lot more successful if the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek became a first team regular. Jose is yet to prove he can coach and develop young footballers into superstars.
4 Threat of Mutiny Edging Closer
Jose’s loyal foot soldiers are getting tetchy. When he brings off the spine of the team at important moments, whether it be John Terry or Nemanja Matic, it hurts their pride and they lose confidence in the man who is supposed to have their back. Most players this week have toed the company line and come out to support their manager, but a lot of reporters close to the scene are telling a different tale around Stamford Bridge. Players are not happy and at the end of the day, those are the people who Mourinho needs onside if he wants to dig himself out of this black hole.
3 Surrounded By “Yes” Men
Mourinho’s right hand men usually go onto become relatively successful coaches in their own right, including the likes of Steve Clarke, Brendan Rodgers, Andre Villas Boas and Aitor Karanka. The current crop of Steve Holland and henchman Rui Faria, often caught berating officials and doing a lot of the dirty work for Jose, seem unable to challenge the manager during this rough trot. One of the keys to Sir Alex Ferguson’s twenty plus years of success with Manchester United was his ability to bring in new assistant coaches to introduce fresh thinking and ideas to the training ground. These lieutenants appear either incompetent or frightened to do that.
2 Losing Fan Support
For the first time at Stamford Bridge, Jose Mourinho’s team were booed off the field against Southampton. With the team floundering towards the end of the EPL table it was deemed a must win match and the 2-1 loss was enough for the crowd to turn their anger towards the manager. The likes of Ivanovic and Falcao have been targeted, but this is new ground for Jose. Abramovich is incredibly sensitive to the mood of the Blues fans and if the locals are restless then action will shortly follow.
1 Becoming Easy Beats
16th in the league. 2 wins from 8 matches. Equal second worst defense in the competition with 17 goals conceded. The aura surrounding the champions has faded fast to the point where Southampton had the confidence to comeback from a goal down at Stamford Bridge to win fairly comfortably. With a host of internationals the club has every ingredient there to turn the form around, but even a late push to qualify for the Champions League in 3rd or 4th position won’t satisfy the owners. Teams aren’t afraid of Chelsea under Mourinho anymore and one way to change that is to switch the man in the dugout.
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