As a Chelsea fan, loving a manager is rare occurrence, purely because we chop and change them so much. Jose Mourinho is one of the few exceptions though. Fellow Chelsea fans adore him, mainly down to witnessing huge success under him previously and his, shall we say, ‘original’ approach with the media. It is entertaining.
He’s not immune to criticism though, especially after a disappointing season like this one has been.
The football served up has been dull, unimaginative and, frankly, considering our resources, appalling. I’m a Chelsea season ticket holder and have been for twenty-three years and this is without doubt one of the worst Chelsea teams, in terms of attacking intent, I’ve seen for a long time.
Obviously Mourinho’s defensive approach was expected, he’s the master of it, and I can’t fault it away from home on certain occasions against the bigger sides as it’s designed to frustrate and counter, which is a perfect away tactic. At home though, and most away games, a more open, attacking approach like the Liverpool’s, Arsenal’s and Manchester City’s of the league is how we should set-up and use the array of attacking talent we’ve splashed out on to their full capabilities. The likes of Schurrle, Salah and Oscar haven’t really had a fair crack of the whip and should’ve been used more throughout the season. Usually a defensive/central midfielder is taking their place instead.
Chelsea have a vast array of attacking talent and with the money we have, will undoubtedly strengthen in the summer, with a striker being top of the list, understandably. This striker should help things, it’s been well documented, but it’s vital Mourinho gets the right man for the job. Didier Drogba practically carried us with his important goals and huge contribution over the years. He had everything and enabled players to feed off his knock downs and was a constant out ball if we were in tricky situations. Is there another Didier Drogba out there, who we can realistically get? I’m not so sure.
With a successful striker added, Mourinho has to adjust the tactics slightly and be more positive anyway. We have the talent to do so and positive, free flowing football is what most football fans, not just Chelsea fans, prefer. I’m sure if you asked the likes of Eden Hazard, Willian and Oscar what approach they’d feel they could flourish under they’d go for the more attack minded one. With Mourinho being such a staunch defender of defensive dealings it’s hard to see him budging from that approach though, sadly.
Gone are the days of Drogba, Lampard in his prime, Makelele and the likes of Robben or Duff who were perfect for that approach and style. We simply don’t have the right ingredients this time around. it just isn’t the same team and it just isn’t suited to such plans. We have more flair and less steel, so why not play to our strengths?
We mustn’t forget the obvious – it’s looking like we’ll be having a trophy less season. Of course it takes times to implement change and patience is certainly required, but not much progress has been made this campaign and that, accompanied with largely dour football, has made for a rather forgetful season. Ultimately, we were expecting a lot when Mourinho was appointed and so far, despite a good Champions League campaign in terms of reaching the semi-finals, it’s been a bit of an anti-climax.
Jose Mourinho isn’t Rafa Benitez, but if he was, he’d have got an absolute battering for Chelsea’s lacklustre season. Not only is there a huge summer ahead recruitment wise, but Mourinho needs to reconsider his approach and play to the strengths of the players he has at his disposal. This is a new Chelsea and it’s time for a new Jose Mourinho.
By Mark Leonard – Chelsea fan