Chelsea fans in West London are mortified at the sacking of Jose Mourinho, the coach who within a short period of his second coming delivered three trophies; the English Premier League, the Capital One Cup and Charity Shield. To add to seven titles he won in his first spell at the club that included two EPL titles, an FA Cup and three League Cups. It is this awesome record that will make the appointing of a replacement a very difficult task.
Roman Abramovich knows better how difficult it has been to replace Mourinho. In between his appointments, there has been over seven coaches that came to fill his shoes but all failed. Of course, Guus Hiddink who took over from Avram Grant did a wonderful job winning the FA Cup and the Premier League.
It is for this reason that he was a front-runner to replace Mourinho ahead of Pep Guardiola, Brendan Rodgers and Juande Ramos. But how did Mourinho find himself in a position where Chelsea are just a point above relegation after 16 matches out of which they lost nine? The English press termed it Mourinho’s third term syndrome, saying his teams often struggle in the third year in charge.
Being defending champions in England and having also qualified into the knockout stage of the Champions League and add to that an array of talent few teams can boast of in the world football, it is hard to pin-point the problem. The first hint is what Mourinho said in his last interview after losing 2-1 to Leicester City that his players betrayed him.
Indeed, careful observation of John Terry and Ivanovic’s body language in that match, you could agree with Mourinho and they two were ball watching when Jammie Vardy scored. The poor performance of the defence almost vindicates Mourinho’s demand for new defender in Everton’s John Stones.
But there are those who think Mourinho brought this on himself. Mourinho failed to integrate young players into the team despite Chelsea having a good reserve side and having many young players on loan.
Chelsea’s aging defence needed young blood but instead of getting one of the many Chelsea youngsters, Mourinho opted for already proven talent in John Stones. He brought in old players like Samuel Eto, Didier Drogba and Radamel Falcao at the expense of young strikers like Lukaku who had to be sold.
In the end, he was creating a situation where Chelsea were going to invest into youth programmes without ever having to harvest anything from it. Buying every year meant Chelsea were playing in the hands of Financial Fare play rules. What was also surprising about Mourinho’s Chelsea, was that most players that Mourinho discarded as bad, ended up good players elsewhere. The selling of Juan Mata after he had just been voted the team’s best player of the season raised many eyebrows.
The trend continued with the selling of Lukaku, Demba Ba, Kelvin De Bruyne, Andre Schurrle and the loaning of Muhamed Salla, Juan Cuardrado, Victor Moses and others. Ironically all these rejected players have become the cornerstones in their next destination clubs. All this meant there was something wrong about Mourinho. n