This current Chelsea squad isn’t a Jose Mourinho-type squad and that has reflected in Chelsea’s up and down start to the season which was similar to when Mourinho 1st quit in 2007. Mourinho likes to control games, but this Blues squad is weighed down with attacking players. What he wants is a younger version John Terry, Frank Lampard or Didier Drogba. Instead he’s got fantastic flair players, but that’s not how Mourinho plays. He must take some responsibility as he had time to make signings, but failed to get the players who would have fitted his philosophy. Romelu Lukaku is the nearest they have to a Drogba, but to send him out on loan is a typical cautious Mourinho move. Lukaku might have Drogba’s features but it’s too early to say he’s the next Drogba. Mourinho weighed it all up and wants a proven player at the business end of the season, so he’s gone with someone he worked with before in Samuel Eto’o. It seems Mourinho doesn’t trust Fernando Torres and if he doesn’t trust Torres, why not offload him? They had long enough in the window to sell him so why keep him around if you’re not going to use him? The transfer of Willian has some question marks. There is no doubt Willian is a great player, he’s such an attacking threat that he can rip any defense apart if given space but there’s a feel that Mourinho is not getting enough defensive work from his attack-minded players. Mourinho is never going to send a side out there and say, “go and play boys; go and entertain me”. NEVER! He wants to be in control of every game, he wants to take the risk out of games but he doesn’t have the personnel.
Chelsea have got so many options in attacking areas that as the season goes on Mourinho will struggle to know what his strongest XI is. Managers such as Rafa Benitez, AVB, Pellegrini among others could cope with this squad but it just doesn’t suit the way Mourinho wants to play. When Mourinho was at Inter he had limited players in attack but more options in the midfield and at that the back. These players were rock solid and it helped Mourinho succeed in his cause there. It’s not doubt that though Mourinho’s time was short in Italy, he remains one of Inter’s most successful coaches. After all, Rafa Benitez was alleged to have pulled down a picture of Mourinho in Inter’s dressing room when Benitez took over from Mourinho, following his flight to Real Madrid. That shows you the affinity Inter have with Mourinho. Mourinho’s move to Real Madrid was a partial success. He failed to win the Champions League that has been missing in the Bernabeu for the past 11 years, though he came close with two consecutive semi-finals in 2011 and 2012, it was still a big disappointment given his pedigree in the champions league. He was able to succeed locally, ending Barcelona’s league and clasico dominance. Mourinho had to switch his style of play in Madrid to attacking one. He publicly admitted that Real Madrid cannot defend but attack. True statement and Real where a fearsome attacking side. The league winning season of 2011/2012 saw the trio of Ronaldo, Higuain and Benzema net over 20 goals each in the league and a combined total of 118 goals for that season, the most of any attack in Europe. Though Real were an attacking side, the players, attackers inclusive were defensively alert. Chelsea under Mourinho’s 1st tenure were a physical and defensive side but with many of those tough tackling players gone, Chelsea has now evolved into a total attacking team. Mourinho if he employs attacking tactics needs players that can fall back when needed and apparently the current attackers in the likes of Juan Mata, Oscar, Hazard, and Willian are not defensively alert, hence the big problem Mourinho faces. Well an option can be to start putting them on defense training schedules but really why put a player such as Oscar busting with flair on defense training? It really doesn’t click.
Going back to Chelsea is the biggest challenge of Mourinho’s managerial career. He is exceptional but it is never the same the second time around and we should never forget why he left the first time, Roman Abramovich was not happy with the way they played. If anything, Mourinho is more cautious than when he was first time round. Sure, Mourinho allowed Cristiano Ronaldo freedom at Madrid. Well he had to because he was too exceptional to play a particular way but he looks uncertain whether to give the attackers in this current Chelsea that freedom. He has a completely different idea of when a player is ready. These players look ready to take on a big role. Lukaku was ready to show his worth but Mourinho wasn’t convinced despite him scoring more than any Chelsea player when he was on loan at Westbrom last season. Juan Mata has been Chelsea best player for the past two seasons, yet for the unknown reasons, he’s seeing himself on the bench. Mourinho is different from most of the rest of the football world. For him, players need to be workaholics that can play loads of games and that’s not the case with this Chelsea team. This is not the team of the Makelele’s, the Essien’s at his prime, the Geremi’s, the Malouda’s, the Kalou’s, the Ballack’s and so on. Those guys played their life out on the field and played according to Mourinho’s script. He has to give this squad a little bit more freedom in the way they play and not overuse them before they get burnouts.
Mourinho has an exceptional pool of talent, and that group of players should be good enough to win the majority of their games, but a manger needs to get the best out of what he has at his disposal. For Mourinho to do that with this Chelsea squad, he’s going to have to take a deep breath and get used to the idea of letting his players off the leash.