Chelsea have been extremely efficient this season in most games and lead the league with a 5 points advantage over title contenders Manchester City. While Chelsea have had great balance in the team with the perfect players playing their best suited position on the pitch, there has been more than just plain on field football. There is a certain psychological dynamism in the team that has powered the Blues into being serious contenders for the big trophies.
There was a serious lack of concentration and some may say effort, when the Blues collapsed against lowly Bradford City to leave Mourinho and Chelsea fans embarrassed as they were knocked out of the FA Cup. This was the second time in the month that Chelsea had conceded 4 or more goals and the third time this season when they conceded 3 or more goals. It was easily visible where Chelsea lacked in these games. Gary Cahill was duly replaced by Kurt Zouma and sanity was restored. While we will talk about Zouma later in another article, here we will try and notice the qualities that Mourinho wants his team to inculcate to be capable of winning trophies.
Mourinho wants his team to be mentally strong and aggressive. There is a certain quality in all our players where each one is very aggressive and resolute in his job, when we consider the starting line-up. There is that diligence to work hard in the game and strive for nothing less than a victory. When players fail to produce that toughness in them naturally, they obviously stand out as being complacent and out of form hence disrupting the tactics.
Last season and before, Chelsea lacked that dynamism in the striker’s role. Chelsea had former top quality players in Fernando Torres and Samuel Eto’o who were degrading in quality as the days passed. Torres was a huge misfit in Chelsea while Eto’o despite his liveliness in the box, could not finish off a huge chunk of his chances or offer a consistent goal threat. Demba Ba barely got a look in as Mourinho didn’t rate him highly enough. What we saw in Torres was the sheer lack of aggression. He lost his confidence and with that, his mental toughness and composure. That hurt him more than his loss of the extra yard of pace.
In Diego Costa, Chelsea now has a striker ready to fight with the back four and get noticed in the game. He may get isolated at times, but there is that fight and hunger to stay in the game and get the best put of every situation that makes Costa such an asset in Chelsea. It is simply the will to put his 100% in the game for the team is what gives Chelsea an outlet for goals. Costa’s aggression is important to keep the team going. Chelsea are usually a team that are extremely composed on the ball and are excellent passers with patience. But there are times when the game loses its steam and intensity or the players start becoming a bit complacent etc. Here is when Costa’s character steps in.
Diego Costa’s on-field antics with central defenders and others, often drawing fouls or committing fouls or sledging or diving or simply fighting, engages the whole team once again. Chelsea as a team need to be reminded sometimes that ‘the match is still on and we need to kill it!’ Diego’s aggression keeps this spirit going. Hey may do those naughty niggles on players or have a verbal go at an opponent but all this works in Chelsea’s favour as they get more equipped in a psychological battle.
It is the effect he has on the team with his on-pitch demeanor is what has changed Chelsea. He stands out as a hero for younger players like Hazard and Oscar. There is a certain way in which he bullies the opponents, assures his teammates and commits himself fully to get the best out of himself and for the club. He sets an example to the youngsters at work as they realize the meaning of putting effort on the pitch in spite of being on a huge payroll. What Diego does is, he endears himself to the club with his behavior. He is a player who has never given Mourinho a problem off the pitch as he has never been the Balotelli-esque aggressive (being passive on the pitch but confronting the manager).
Many pundits who like the typical English style of play Costa brings to the team, always rise to the occasion of supporting him. Pundits like Gary Neville have been appreciating his commitment and his performances to get Chelsea to where they are. Mourinho has made a clear peach of a signing by getting the lad we all dreamed of after Didier Drogba.
He wants his team to back him up when he goes into the war with his glory strides. He has truly lived up to the tag of -The Guv’nor.
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Edited By: Sheetanshu