Jose At The Crossroads?

The great Chelsea dilemma. Back him or sack him - at least that's what the papers would lead us to believe; but whichever camp you p...

The great Chelsea dilemma. Back him or sack him - at least that's what the papers would lead us to believe; but whichever camp you place yourself in, it really does pay to stand back and pause for a moment and reflect upon the remarkable turn of events since Chelsea secured their 3rd Premiership title under Jose, and 4th overall, just 5 months ago. The contrast is so stark. Even Jose's sternest critics wouldn't have seen this coming. But however much we try to avoid it, the situation we're in does demand some serious analysis and some practical answers. 

Let me start by nailing my colours to the mast. I have been and remain a Jose Mourinho fan. Without question, the most successful manager in Chelsea's history and likely the most charismatic. I've laughed and marvelled at the way he has handled the media, even if at times, he's sailed a little too close to the wind. But there are undoubtedly some very worrying signs....

In some Chelsea quarters - though maybe not so prevalent currently - it was almost considered blasphemy to raise question marks about Jose. It is a hard one to grapple with - such a revered character, we don't easily move to a position of being critical; but critical, as constructively as possible, I have to be. 

We can never know the detail of what has gone on behind the scenes and can never be sure about all the rumour and conjecture that fills the media. What we can do though is glean something from what appears before our eyes. We have seen the team stutter and occasionally start through an opening game period that is unrivalled since the days when Peter Rhodes-Brown was considered a key attacking threat. We have seen Jose get it so horribly and unequivocally wrong with the whole Eva Caneiro saga. We have seen the mind boggling team selections (Branners is a legend but he was having a wretched period up to his injury) and we have, I believe, seen our legend of a manager, genuinely struggling to cope with adversity - something that he hasn't had to face to this degree before, in his hitherto glittering managerial career. 

The issue of adversity and how to deal with it is a major point here. It has often been said that you find out more about a person in times of adversity; well, what I'm seeing coming from Jose currently is not pleasant. What was once daring and humorous has now become repetitive and tiresome (please Jose, forget Wenger). Even if - and I strongly doubt this now - Jose is trying to create diversions and smoke screens to deflect pressure, the signs of a manager in meltdown appears to be a more fitting explanation. 

All this I convey with a heavy heart. It would be incredibly sad for Jose's tenure to end in such an undignified manner - and at the time of writing this the rumour mill has gone into overdrive about the managerial guillotine imminently descending upon his head - but it doesn't look great. A large dose of humility - as well as his trademark hard work and attention to detail - is what is required, but Jose and humility has never seemed like a relationship that would work. I heard it said recently by a fan 'I wish Jose would just wake up and know what to do' - I wholeheartedly wish the same, not only in trying to galvanise a talented but struggling team, but also to know how to handle the pressure in this wretched situation. But I fear time may be running out - and here I don't mean I believe Jose should go right now, but rather wonder what our owner may be thinking in relation to making that call. 

We need the brilliance of Jose in terms of unrivalled man management and football know-how, but we needed the dignity of a Carlo Ancelotti. It hardly seems likely that we will see the latter develop in Jose, and how incredibly sad it would be if this period of time taints the legacy of one of the greatest managers the world has ever seen, let alone Chelsea. Prove me wrong Jose, please......


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