Chelsea, Mourinho malaise getting worse with defeat, report of unhappy players

By Hilton Yip Source:Global Times Published: 2015-11-2 22:43:01

Jose Mourinho is no stranger to controversy, but it might be fair to say that Chelsea's current situation is a crisis that might be too much for even him.

On Saturday, in a game that he was under heavy pressure to win, Mourinho instead saw his team lose 3-1 in a dismal performance to stay in 15th place. Even worse, their opponents were Liverpool, managed by the Premier League's newest debutant and star manager Jurgen Klopp.

The defeat, Chelsea's sixth in 11 league games this season, set off the ­latest round of speculation about ­whether Mourinho would be fired, something unthinkable a few months ago. Yet, while this writer is no fan of the Portuguese manager, it would be premature to fire him just over a bad three months. Having won his ­latest title just last season, Mourinho has enough accomplishments to justify a little more time and patience.

However, the problem is that Chelsea's current predicament is largely his own fault. Chelsea cannot use injuries or the losses of star players as excuses. Instead, there are serious signs that one of Mourinho's supposed greatest strengths - being able to get the best out of his players and having their undying loyalty - is now a weakness. Key Chelsea players like Eden Hazard and Branislav Ivanovic have seen their form dip severely, stalwart captain John Terry has been taken off and benched a few times, while firebrand striker Diego Costa has been erratic and getting into more scrapes than scoring.

Worse, on Sunday, a BBC sports presenter reported hearing that Mourinho's relationship with his players was at "rock bottom," with one anonymous player even saying he would rather lose a game than win for Mourinho.

If this is true, and if Mourinho is unable to repair the damage to his team, then perhaps his time might be up. The outspoken manager has never been shy about speaking his mind or picking fights with opposing managers, referees and even his own team doctor, but taking on his own players is a step too far.

Mourinho has also been unusually feisty this season, having gotten into a spat with Arsenal's Arsene Wenger even before the season began and continuing that while Wenger has been diplomatic.

Klopp and Wenger both refused to pile on Mourinho during the weekend. After all, they probably are not losing any sleep over Chelsea's continued plummet under Mourinho.

The author is a Beijing-based freelance writer.

Posted in: Extra Time

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