Mourinho siege mentality backfires at Blues

Date published: Saturday 24th October 2015 6:41

‘The Blues were beaten in cruel circumstances at Upton Park this afternoon having had to play the whole second half with 10 men.

‘After West Ham had taken an early lead through Mauro Zarate, Kurt Zouma’s header looked to have crossed the line, only for the decision to go the home side’s way, before Cesc Fabregas beat Adrian but saw the goal ruled out for offside when he appeared to have been played onside by the retreating West Ham defenders. Nemanja Matic was then sent off on the stroke of the break for a second bookable offence.

‘The 10 men rallied impressively however and were the better side in the second half. Gary Cahill equalised 10 minutes after the break with his first goal of the season, but Andy Carroll’s late header, which came against the run of play, won it for the hosts.’

The only thing the match report on Chelsea’s official website was missing was a byline for ‘Mr. J. Mourinho’. The Portuguese is hailed as the master of the siege mentality, but he has built one so strong at Stamford Bridge he is becoming its main victim.

Speaking before the game against West Ham in midweek, Mourinho signalled an end to the good and funny headlines he oft provides as manager. True to his word, the boss led a media blackout after a seventh defeat in 15 matches in all competitions so far this season. After joining assistant Silvino Louro in the stands for the second half, the Portuguese opted against his usual post-match routine of blame and deception.

It’s difficult to know where Mourinho would have started had he addressed the media. With Nemanja Matic’s first-half red card perhaps, the Serb being issued two yellows in the space of nine minutes for fouls which did indeed warrant the punishment.

Or perhaps Mourinho would have branded goal-line technology “weak and naive” after it correctly judged Kurt Zouma’s first-half header to have barely not crossed the line.

Maybe Mourinho would have directed his ire at the officials, who made an excellent call to rule out Cesc Fabregas’ equaliser for offside.

Either way, the outcome would be the same. Mourinho has built a siege mentality so strong at Chelsea that two players, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, were booked in the aftermath of Matic’s dismissal, while club assistant Silvino Louro was sent to the stands. ‘Us against them’ works perfectly when each cog in the machine is working to the best of its ability. When every player is under-performing, it’s counter-productive.

The Blues may as well set up a direct debit with the FA, such is their penchant for fines. Another is in the offing after seven bookings were handed out to the visitors. Yet another afternoon where the club’s victim mentality – as fostered by Mourinho – engulfed them.

But what more can Mourinho say? He has rightfully pinpointed Matic, Fabregas, Costa, Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard and many more for their lacklustre performances this season, yet each continue to underwhelm and frustrate with every passing game.

Reports break each week that players are losing faith in their manager, and they become more conceivable each time. Captain John Terry and Asmir Begovic have recently lauded the manager as one of the best in the world, but then why is such strong support from his players only manifesting itself on the pitch in the form of arguments and poor performances?

Mourinho has built a hugely successful career through his methods, but they come at a cost. At Real Madrid he famously fell out with Iker Casillas as well as the media, and soon left. He tussled with players at Inter Milan before leaving on the back of securing an excellent treble. He was dismissed from Chelsea in his first spell after reportedly locking horns with owner Roman Abramovich. Such an abrasive character is ideal for a club in form, but that he has lasted no longer than three seasons at any one club speaks volumes.

As Daniel Storey wrote nearly three weeks ago, the church of Mourinho is slowly burning to the ground. It’s nigh-on impossible to see how he can conceivably rebuild.


Matt Stead

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