Eye On EPL

Chelsea manager Mourinho has only himself to blame for predicament

Jose Mourinho (centre) gestures during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.
Jose Mourinho (centre) gestures during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.PHOTO: AFP

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has blamed referees, the media, his back-room staff and his players for the Blues' poor season but perhaps, the person doing the most damage to the club is himself.

His outbursts and public criticism of his own players and back-room staff reveal the ongoing friction between him and the team, and all signs point to the Special One having lost his dressing room.

Things began to unravel from the first English Premier League game of the season against Swansea, when he lashed out at club doctor Eva Carneiro for coming onto the pitch to treat Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard.

And then came Mourinho's decision to leave key players such as Hazard and John Terry on the bench.

Terry is a shadow of the player we are used to seeing and Mourinho killed the captain's confidence by relegating him to the bench several times this season.

Instead of putting the blame squarely on his players, I think Mourinho should put his ego aside, look at himself in the mirror, be humble and take responsibility for his side's abysmal form.

Similarly, Hazard has been below par and nowhere close to the form which won him the Player of the Year award last season.

Besides Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Branislav Ivanovic are also struggling with form this season.

The players are fed up, and you can see that from their body language and performances.

Not only have Chelsea suffered three consecutive defeats - by Liverpool and West Ham in the EPL and a penalty shoot-out loss to Stoke in the League Cup - the players also are not fighting as hard as they used to.

The reigning champions are languishing in 15th spot and are 14 points behind leaders Manchester City.

 

Teams who used to be afraid to play at Stamford Bridge are finding it easy to win, as the Blues have suffered three losses in six home games.

These are all tell-tale signs of a fractured relationship between the manager and the rest of the club, including fans.

While the players are expected to be professional and perform well on the pitch, they have feelings too. Weighed down by the manager's outbursts, they will not be 100 per cent focused on the game.

Mourinho will not earn the respect of a player by openly shaming him. As a former player myself, I do not want to see my coach's criticism of me appear in the newspapers.

Perhaps the Portuguese is hanging on to his job only because club owner Roman Abramovich believes in him. But sooner or later, even the Russian's patience will run out.

Instead of putting the blame squarely on his players, I think Mourinho should put his ego aside, look at himself in the mirror, be humble and take responsibility for his side's abysmal form.

I do not think that an apology to the backroom staff will help to restore the trust of players at this stage. Mourinho has made too many enemies, burnt too many bridges and it is hard to imagine how the situation will turn around.

But maybe he should loosen up and not let his anger, frustration and pressure get the better of him.

He should be willing to listen to the players, and it may help him to rebuild his relationship with them.

If he does not do something to make the players happier and revive the season, it will not be the players who will go - but him.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2015, with the headline 'Mourinho has only himself to blame for predicament'. Print Edition | Subscribe