Half time at Craven Cottage could be the key moment in Chelsea's season.
For two days now the focus of the media and press attention has been on what did or didn't ha...
For two days now the focus of the media and press attention has been on what did or didn't happen in the Chelsea dressing room at half time against Fulham on Saturday. I believe that whatever happened could have been the key moment in our season.
Being honest, sitting there watching that Chelsea performance in the first half, I was dreading us dropping points just as we have against West Ham and West Brom in recent weeks. I have always said that every single game is just as important as the next game no matter who you are playing against, whether it's Galatasaray in the Champions League or Fulham in the Premier League. Chelsea had stuttered of late and it was important to see some sort of a reaction in the second half.
Now according to various reports, Jose Mourinho walked into the dressing room, shouted some expletives at the players and stormed out after only 10-15 seconds. It's reported that he told the players to "sort their shit out!" If that is the case, then that's fantastic from the manager.
He didn't look happy at all in the first half. Every time you saw clips of him standing on the sidelines you could see he was studying the game, analysing where things are going wrong and who wasn't doing what they were supposed to as part of the framework of his team.
It would have been easy for him to go into the dressing room and to bark his orders at the players, it would have been easy to dig the players out for not performing and it would have been easy to translate his feelings to the players by talking through where things were going wrong.
However, the manager chose to do what he did and trusted his players in a different way to respond. He could see that maybe various times before he has approached his half time team talks differently and didn't get the reaction he was looking for but also knew that we could not afford to drop points in this game.
He looked for a reaction from the players and he got exactly that. It was arguably our best performance away from home in that all important second half at the Cottage.
That reaction spoke volumes for me. Firstly, the players stood up to be counted, raised their game and their level and delivered what was asked of them. Anyone that has played the game no matter what standard would know if you had played well enough when you walked off the pitch, you didn't need someone to tell you. No one needed to say anything at half time because they knew it themselves. We knew it sitting watching and so did the manager.
Sometimes in football and in life in general, you need to take a long look at yourselves to put things into perspective, to get your focus back and to get yourselves back on track. Every single one of those players would have done that and came out with a totally different attitude.
I really believe that fifteen minute interval could be key to our season from here on in. The reaction from the manager to the players was immense. You cannot underestimate Mourinho's decision in that moment. He let his true feelings known and trusted the players to react and they did.
With Manchester City now six points behind with two games in hand, Mourinho is still talking about the Premier League table being fake. He states that if City win those two games they will be top of the League above us on goal difference and looking at things in the same way, he is right.
The thing is, City still need to win those games and as we know in the Premier League, anything can happen so it's not all done and dusted, they still need to get those games won.
Another important thing to consider is next weekend. Manchester City are playing in the FA Cup as Chelsea take on Tottenham in the Premier League. If Chelsea win, we would be NINE points clear of City with them having three games in hand. Points on the board is the most important.
City's fixture list is mounting up and sooner or later they are going to have to play a game every three days to get back on a level playing field with the rest of us.
Make no mistake, Chelsea's reaction is and could be massive. Chelsea have put pressure on Arsenal who were above us and now with our run of results, we sit four points clear of them. Chelsea have put pressure on Man City and have completed the league double over Pellegrini's side. If we beat Tottenham at the weekend, a nine point gap is huge. The pressure will be on City to win each of their games in hand because we already have the points on the board.
Trust me when I say that second half reaction could be the key moment in our season and our challenge for the Premier League title this season. Chelsea delivered and have done so in the last thirteen games. The pressure is now on Man City to do the same.