Mourinho isn’t shy of the press spotlight. A man that revels in pointing out the perceived injustices inflicted upon his Chelsea side, many laud him for his honesty and transparency when dealing with the assembled media.
Yet within this sentiment comes a staunch sense of loyalty to his club Chelsea, loyalty that is so unerring that it borders on the ridiculous at times, something that we have begun to see regularly in regard to the Premier League.
Before I’m accused of vilifying Chelsea let me assure you that cheating and more specifically diving is unfortunately an endemic part of our game, no club is immune to it. Unfortunately for the West Londoners though there is a worrying trend emerging that highlights them as some of the worst offenders.
Mourinho isn’t a man to leave his players hanging out to dry, and his support for the likes of Oscar and Ramires has been unwavering, but even so do his players owe him a little more?
The problem for Mourinho is that he is accused of being s little selective in his remarks on diving. Indeed the Portuguese tactician had no hesitation in branding Luis Suarez a diver when making the accusation that Liverpool’s Luis Suarez was “doing an acrobatic swimming pool jump” when he went to ground under a Samuel Eto’o challenge in the penalty area during Chelsea’s 2-1 Premier League win on 29 December.
Yet when it comes to questions about his own players conduct he continue with the same defence:
“I maintain [there are no divers at Chelsea]. Isolated episodes,” he said.
“The referees attacking it. The manager supporting the referees. I think we are doing well. Let’s see if the others do the same as us.”
This all comes after a series of incidents that have undermined the reputation of Chelsea as a club. Ramires was booked in the FA Cup victory of Derby for simulation, something that Mourinho was willing to back, but this comes after the same player managed to manufacture a penalty and steal a point off West Brom earlier in the season, an incident that Mourinho surprisingly saw as just.
It is consecutive games now that a Chelsea player has seen a card for diving; it was Oscar’s turn against Southampton as he attempted to con the referee into the award of a penalty.
For me cheating to gain an advantage over an opponent is as low as it gets in football, and even worse when you consider how hard a line the manager is trying to take on the issue. Mourinho has in recent weeks criticised individual incidents, but for him there isn’t a widespread problem at the club regarding cheating and foul play.
Mourinho has made it clear that he will talk to Ramires, but the question for many is why hasn’t this been stamped out earlier. For someone with such undisputed control over a side, why hasn’t Mourinho been able to talk to the squad as a whole and make his position clear? If it is such a huge issue to him then he would have no qualms placing sanctions on players that continue to cheat and muddy the clubs name.
The stance that Mourinho has taken on diving is commendable, but it is hard for him to take a hard line on the issue when his players continue to let him down. It is either time for the Chelsea boss to go in hard on his own, or to stop being the footballing policeman that he loves to be.