If you are a soccer fan you have heard two stories going on, the Karim Benzema story (which I do not want to touch with a 10 foot pole) and that Jose Mourinho has been fired as the Chelsea manager.
Last week the ‘Special One’ was sacked as the Chelsea manager just 7 months after he led the club to a Premier League Championship. If the season were to end right now, Chelsea would sit 3 points away from relegation. If someone were to tell me that is where Chelsea would be --- considering that last season Chelsea won the premier league championship so easily --- I would have laughed in your face, but it's happening.
Whether it was his fault or not Jose Mourinho needed to get fired; however, there are so many questions. How could a Mourinho coached team be so bad? Whose fault is it? Here is my best breakdown to answer why.
Best breakdown ever in 3, 2, 1: The team was losing a lot.
Mourinho was obviously getting more and more disappointed with his club. The team decided to not give effort anymore. Mourinho’s disappointment turned to anger, anger turned to sadness. Throws shade on the teams players. Manager is fired. Breakdown over.
Wait, it cannot be that simple right?
It is true that in almost all sports, player stop trying hard when their team is losing, however a team falling off a cliff like this does not make sense. Mourinho is a successful coach and leaving 7 months after winning a premier league championship is unheard of. There has to be more to it, at least we as fans think there has to be more to it. There are a couple theories that are not crazy to suggest there was more to the Mourinho firing.
Theory #1: He was way too hard on the players and the players could not take it anymore.
I understand the point of view of this argument. Here is the truth, to say Mourinho is not a player’s coach to is an understatement. He is an absolute terrible person to his player. To use a North American comparable, he is like if John Tortorella had Michael Jordan’s confidence and Tom Thibodeau’s approach to coaching players. He rides his players hard, expects his defensive system to be ran to perfection and will have no problem throwing players under the bus when his team loses.
With all of that, many people are wondering why Mourinho constantly gets a job and constantly win. That is because Mourinho is actually a good coach. His system is genius and has produced stars like Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, and John Terry.
The problem is his coaching style is taxing on a player. To go to practice with a coach who loses it for every single hiccup is hard enough. Now those same players, in the midst of a losing streak, must go to practice, be picked apart emotionally, and will most likely be thrown under a bus by the same guy the day before. That has "absolute mutiny about to happen" written all over it, especially in soccer where a manger can get fired in 7 seconds after a championship league title (sarcasm alert), let alone 7 months.
This argument is tough to counter except for one problem. Soccer players may have the reputation of being soft but it takes something bigger.
Theory #2: There is a theory that Mourinho is a sacrificial lamb for bad signings.
Chelsea has the talent to be top five team in their sleep. However, Annikan and I will be the first to tell you on the Fan-I Experience that this Chelsea team has players that are talented but have serious deficiencies. For example, Costa has had two years a good play but has been pretty bad outside of those two years, Hazard has the tendency to disappear for stretches in a season, Cahill gets pushed off the ball easy, and it feels like Fàbregas has completely lost his talent at times.
Those are a few examples that can be pointed to. In Mourinho’s last post game conference before his eventual firing he outwardly called out his team.
Now one can use this as evidence for the first theory but what if Mourinho was on to something.
The players Chelsea have are good but not great, and some are clearly out of form. The point is, this argument will subscribe to the view that the players where not playing to their full potential and since an owner cannot fire everyone, Mourinho was made an example of to divert attention away from the players.
Here’s the drawback to the argument Chelsea went on to beat Sunderland 3-1 in their first game without Jose Mourinho.
Side note: the crowd at Stamford Bridge were in full support of Mourinho, which was actually surprising.
While Sunderland pose as an easy opponent, it can't be denied the team played looser, like a burden has been lifted off their shoulders (yes I said burden on purpose). Fact is that when the ‘tough coach’ starts losing, the team start losing bad, and it is not unheard of to see a team finally give up in hopes that the coach leaves.
Side note #2: each theory’s counter arguments have holes I know.
I think that this is a case of column A/column B. While I agree that maybe the Chelsea players are not as good as they think, Jose Mourinho is a little too much in terms of his bravado, and that attitude with players wears thin. Mourinho’s track record would suggest that he is right on cue for his shelf life with most teams; however, his system is fantastic and works and maybe last year was an illusion into judging the players value. Which ever theory one subscribes to, it will be interesting to see how the team reacts to Mourinho’s firing long term.