Jose Mourinho’s pragmatist approach to football has often led to suggestions that he is a defensive manager. That opinion seems to be changing this season.
Number of questions were raised on the approach adopted by the manager in the first year of his second coming. So it is quite a shame that the style of play of Chelsea this season has not been talked about a lot more. You may put it down on the biased media, but this article aims to analyse all that has changed since the last year.
Chelsea performance analysis 2013/14: Jose was not shy at all in expressing that the squad he inherited has limitations – mainly in the striker department. He lifted the lid on all rumours by confirming his interest publicly in Wayne Rooney, who was unsettled at that time at Manchester United. But Moyes was able to convince his star man from being a traitor, and it was Chelsea who ended as the loser. Jose knew that Rooney could be a solution for his striking problems, but fortunately or, unfortunately, that move didn’t happen.
With Torres, Ba and Eto’o, there was always a lack of consistency. Even though, team showed flashes of brilliance at times, they were not able to take the momentum forward consistently. Still, converting a team lacking some qualities into one challenging for the title is nowhere an easier task and Jose was able to do right that. Remember, we achieved this by competing against the likes of Man City (who boasted a far stronger squad compared to us in all aspects) and Liverpool (who enjoyed the added comfort of no European matches).
Chelsea’s performances against others in top 4 were spectacular. We took 16 out of 18 points against our title rivals. But our performances against the lower teams put paid to our title hopes, something that has been analysed aplenty since the last season.
After Ancelotti had left, Chelsea struggled for stability as a club. As a result, Jose’s initial months were full of challenges beyond just those on the field. It took him time to figure out his best XI, and he was often tweaking and tinkered his formations. Besides the arrival of Schurrle and Willian, the January signings gave a good indication of what Jose was trying to achieve with Matic and Salah coming in and Mata and De Bruyne leaving. In fact, the last season was ideally a rebuilding phase. This was pretty obvious with Mourinho’s press conferences too.
This season, Mourinho, finally has his team with Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas proving to be the last piece of the puzzle. Costa is more Drogba like in the way he imposes himself over the opposition defense with his physicality. This guy has been able to get into every fans heart with his eye for goal his main speciality. Even if he is not having a good match, he won’t hesitate to take the chances that come his way. Rarely have we seen him getting frustrated. He always keeps his cool and waits for his chance. In Mourinho’s words, a lethal striker with a killer instinct.
Another advantage we have is that we have a far more balanced and well settled squad when compared to prior seasons. A squad where each one can foresee others’ moves. That’s a luxury and with the enhanced confidence the team has, this team definitely has ‘BIG BALLS’ to stand against the odds.
“The difference with Chelsea this season is the work they do in getting the ball back. The first goal was a great goal and I love the second goal – they still find spaces. And when the opposition is going forward, they also have the possibility of going for a counter-attack. This is the Chelsea I love to see. It’s a Chelsea that’s hard to beat.”
– ex-Chelsea boss Ruud Gullit on Chelsea’s performance against Aston Villa – Source BBC.com
This season is still fresh with only 9 games played. Hence, a lot of things said here may yet be premature. But as the season goes ahead, there will be greater challenges that will test the resolve and character of the this team. Ours is no more a one man team. We have shown that again and again that it’s all a team effort. With the strength of the squad Jose has at his disposal, Chelsea can be taken as one of the favorites for the title position this season. There are few who know this better than our Jose. Yes, we are not the little horse anymore.
Edited By: Shashank Rai