Seeing Signs Of Chelsea Progress...

The afternoon mailbox is a little more positive about Jose Mourinho's first season back at Chelsea, while we also have thoughts on Big Sam, Pep Guardiola and Liverpool...

Last Updated: 02/05/14 at 15:25

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Liverpool Paupers
Sorry Joe, London, but you can't paint Liverpool as some cap-in-hand paupers in an effort to establish some sort of link between them and Atleti.

Wasting a sh*tload of money (net spend klaxon...) over the last few years is not the same as being heavily in debt, whilst exceeding your season's expectations is not the same as holding off the biggest two clubs in world football to hopefully achieve an unprecedented La Liga and UCL double!
Atleti's achievements (whatever they end up with) are indeed brilliant for the wider game and should inspire other teams, but can we please stop trying to portray FSG owned Liverpool as the plucky underdog!
David (she wore a yellow ribbon)
ps Agree wholeheartedly about the Europa League!


Pedant
I can't be the only one who's getting annoyed at people mis-using the phrase 'false 9'. Joe, Wrexham - If Puncheon is playing behind Benteke in your team then he is not a false 9, but a traditional '10'! So many of the media were describing Schurrle's role up front as a false 9. It bloody wasn't! He was playing as a traditional 9 and just doing it badly! This phrase came about to describe Messi's role under Guardiola, which was that of a '10' but without a traditional centre forward ahead of him. I know it's pedantic, and that life's too short to get annoyed by such things but still...
Kieran, Liverpool


Big Sam Better Than Guardiola...
Yes that's right, that is my claim and I shall back that claim up with sound reasoning.

Both managers are in fact remarkably similar, so much so that I actually had problems in picking a winner out of the two of them, you see they both have a style of play and both it seems stick rigidly to that style of play, regardless of who they are managing. Pep likes his passy passy football and Sam likes to get it wide and cross it in. The aesthetics of these systems are another debate, but as Jose has shown us against Liverpool there is more than one way to skin a footballing cat. Ok so we have established that the two managers in question are similar in this respect.

Ok so what makes these systems work? Oddly enough for each system to work as well as the manager wants them to, both rely on one particular player, and I mean a specific player not a type of player, for Pep this is Leo Messi, I think we can all agree that the purple patch at Barca coincided with the emergence of little Leo. Sam on the other hand relies on Kevin Nolan to make his tactic work, just look at how much better West Hams results this season are when Nolan is firing. You see at this stage, still both managers are very very similar.

However, for me taking into account the two points above, where Sam comes out on top, is the fact he has the man management skills, powers of persuasion and awareness of how his tactic actually works. With this is he able to take the key working part in his formation with him where ever he goes, he has that relationship with Nolan, he has built that, something Pep evidently hasn't done with Leo, or is it that Pep doesn't really understand that his tactic only really works because of Leo, Sam knows this about Nolan and thus the only logical conclusion that can be drawn from this is that Sam is indeed the better manager.

Now, before you come back at me about what Pep has won and what Sam hasn't won, think on this, Pep landed on his feet at Barca with a bunch of players of a standard Sam could only dream of, Sam has never had the chance to manager such a bunch of talented people, this isn't his fault, he didn't get his first break at the top of the footballing ladder, he worked his way up. Perhaps if he wasn't too far off with his argument that if he wasn't Fat Sam and was actually Fat Pedro, he may have been given a break at a better team where he could have swept all before him, as we already know Nolan would have followed him to Barca if Fat Pedro gotten that gig.
Al (Edinburgh)


Good Year For Chelsea
It's funny how I have been reading even Chelsea fans speak against Jose this week. So the man who was God last week is suddenly a 'specialist in failure' this week? Does that even make sense?

We lost to the team that leads both Real and Barcelona, no shame. Jose has not had the best season but surely I would call it a successful one. I didn't expect us to go win trophies in Jose's first year back, and even if I did (maybe little), it was solely because he was the manager. And he did come close! Benitez too had an excellent squad last season, and he took over when we were very much in the title race, we know where it ended. For all those pointing out Jose's expenditures, when was the last time we made a PROFIT in the transfer market?

Jose has made mistakes this season: He took a few easier games as granted (Palace, Sun, Villa, etc) and of course - the Atletico game. But he has done the team more good than harm. I do agree the man loses his calm when the team is down, but if he can overcome this, we would be in a much better place next season. Counting the positives - we're building from the back, many players look better under Jose (I don't need to count), we know how to win big matches (one game doesn't make me change my mind), MATIC, and several more.

Can't wait for next season, and you will be singing his name again.
Riwaz (CFC, Mumbai)


Pithy
On Clock End John:

- How on earth is this our worst league campaign for a decade? Seriously what 'paper' are you reading this from?

- I'm sick of this 'Mourinho was a total failure at Madrid' bollocks. He dethroned Pep's Barcelona to the title on record points for f*cks sake.

On rivalry:

- Doesn't the success of Premier League teams in Europe boost the league's coefficient and keep those much coveted four slots open? Seems like pretty good reason to support your rivals to me.
Simon CFC


...I'd just like to respond to some of the points Clock End John was making this morning.

John, you claim Benitez enjoyed 'greater success with the same group'. Well he did win the Europa League - beating such footballing heavyweights as Sparta Prague, Steua Bucharest, Rubin Kazan & Basel. Benfica are a very decent side but we had beaten them in the Champions League a year prior so winning that game wasn't a major coup. More importantly - do you think Roman would be happier if Jose had won the Europa League (ie. being knocked in the group stage again)? Or getting to the CL semi-final. Which one suggests improvement to you?

As well as contriving to lose the Club World Cup Final, Benitez failed to pick up any domestic silverware and we finished 3rd and 14 points of the pace, on a points total we have just passed with 2 winnable games to go which are likely to take us to 2 points behind the eventual champions. So mathematically there is an improvement there, not to mention the incredible record we've had this season in the big games. Could you please explain how this is our 'worst league campaign in a decade on paper'?

You also claim that Real Madrid are having a 'much stronger season under Ancellotti (sic) than they ever had under Jose'. Well arguably so if they win the Champions League - but as it stands they are third in La Liga, six points off first and miles off Jose's record points total, goal scoring and league winning season from 2012 - achieved against probably the greatest Barcelona (and maybe even the World's greatest) side of all time. So how do you explain that statement?

Your argument that we were playing for a 0-0 at home against Atletico is farcical, we dominated the chances & possession in the first half, scored, and it was a pretty open game from minute one. If anything, a cagier approach might have been more successful. The better team overall won though, no doubt.

Whilst we won't be winning any silverware this season, massive improvement around Stamford Bridge is there to see for anyone with a brain. With a few minor alterations in the summer the trophies will be flooding in, which is what Jose has been saying all along.
Tom, South London


Eriksen >
Firstly, why does one have to be compared to the other? Both play differing roles, in different systems, with different responsibilities. But, let's humour the excitable Ash, LFC, who seems to think that Willian simply "runs around and gets some tackles in". Willian has the second highest minutes per chance created in the league, so creates more often than Coutinho. His defensive work is also mightily impressive, and perfect for the system Mourinho employs. I'm not sure you can quantify who is better, but pretty silly to suggest that all he does is defensive work and that he's "overrated". Ash also seems to be forgetting that Coutinho wasn't particularly good for the first half of the season.
Alex G, THFC (Eriksen > both of them anyway, obvs)

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Are Pre-Season Tours Really A Problem?

Are pre-season tours really a problem? Liverpool went to Australia last summer and it didn't prevent them from having a good season. Plus, thoughts on LvG and keepers...

It Isn't Easy Supporting Spurs, You Know

We have a long mail about the travails of supporting Spurs, plus Friday thoughts on Marko Marin, marketing, victory v beauty, travelling and vanishing sprays...

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