Monday, September 24, 2007

Mourinho: why did he fail in the Champions league with Chelsea?

When Jose Mourinho, after taking a bunch of, well not entirely unknowns, but certainly far from mega-superstars of Porto to the Champions League trophy left for mega-spending Chelsea everyone thought that as of that moment others will simply compete for the other place in the CL final. After all, the owner Abramovich could buy him whichever players he desired and he could create an invincible team, perfectly according to his wishes that will simply walk to the trophies. But as they say, football is a funny old game and thank God, of all the cliches surrounding the Beautiful game, this one proves time and time again to be 100% true. And so in 3 seasons Chelsea, with all the money they spent, have only managed two semifinals for their trouble, both times Liverpool being the unsurmountable obstacle between them and glory.

So where did Mourinho screw up? Because, let's face it, he did screw up. Big time. In my opinion, the hype surrounding him got to his head a bit. Part of his psychological tactics was to deflect all the media attention from the players to himself but as time went on it seemed he began to believe it was really all about him, his tactics, his schemes...In his mind they were fool-proof, infailable and all he needed was players to execute them. But football is not chess and there is always the element of unexpected on the pitch, an awkward deflection, an injury, a refereeing mistake...And when that happened Mourinho's reply was more schemes since, ironically with all the money he had at his disposal, he didn't have a player capable of producing something out of the ordinary, save perhaps Drogba and Robben. Strict tactical discipline usually does bring you league championships and Mourinho duly delievered twice in that department but the Champions league is a competition where inspiration and creativity can in the end take you to the next level. Mourinho had that with his Porto team but seemed to have forgotten all about it when he joined the Blues.

Don't get me wrong, Mourinho is certainly among the creme de la creme of his profession, his record says it all, but he must rmemeber that the bottom line of football are the players. They are the ones who pass and move and create and score and if Mourinho realizes this again it won't be long before he puts his hands on another Champions League trophy.

I must admit I already miss the bugger. He added a lot to football not only in the technical aspect of the game itself but also in the personality department. I hope he won't be unemployed for long and whichever team he takes over I will watch with interest.

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