According to Dominic Fifield of The Guardian, Jose Mourinho could be fined £10,000 after pleading guilty to his latest FA charge of improper conduct.
Bearing in mind that this is not the Chelsea manager’s first controversial episode this season, could his constant mind games and clashes with officials be detrimental to Chelsea‘s pursuit of silverware this season?
In his side’s shock defeat at Villa Park, Mourinho was sent to the stands by Chris Foy for illegally entering the field of play to demand an explanation for Ramires’ dismissal.
The incident at Villa Park is just the latest in a long line of distractions that his developing side didn’t need, particularly at the business end of the season.
‘The Special One’ lamented post-match that all he wanted was “five seconds” of Foy’s time.
Bemusingly though, Mourinho has luckily avoided any form of further sanction for his criticism of Foy in his post-match interview.
The Chelsea manager suggested it would be “helpful” if the referee didn’t officiate any of his side’s future fixtures and openly suggested that Foy had an agenda against his club.
Considering the FA’s usual protection of their officials, it’s ridiculous that such inflammatory comments have been allowed to go unpunished.
This is the second time that Mourinho has incurred the FA’s wrath this season, having previously been fined £8,000 for his wrongdoing in the fixture against Cardiff City.
As the latest infraction has been defined as “non-standard”, the Chelsea manager could yet be handed a touchline ban.
Whilst much has reported on the effect of Alan Pardew’s frequent pitch-side misdemeanours on his Newcastle United side, very little has been said about the consequences of Mourinho’s own punishments or his constant use of the media..
Obviously, calling for a “five second” timeout is not the same as a headbutt.
But the point remains. Mourinho could prove to be an unnecessary distraction to his own players.
Of course, comments in the media are largely an irrelevance when your side is performing well. Mourinho’s laughable attempts to deflect any title talk by dismissing his side as “little horses” in the race was no hindrance in Chelsea’s climb to the summit.
But when the going gets tough, can Mourinho really afford to keep acting in this manner?
Although he possesses experienced heads such as Petr Cech, Frank Lampard and John Terry, this is still a Chelsea side in development. Many of his players have never lifted the Premier League title before.
It’s still a side adjusting to Mourinho’s specific style of play. As the result at Villa Park proved, blips between now and the end of the season are to be expected.
And it is at these times when many of his Chelsea players will need Mourinho the most. They don’t need to be hearing or reading about their manager’s latest rant or clash with the footballing authorities.
Already this season Mourinho has been embarassed in the media. Derogatory comments about his strikers were made public by French television station Canal Plus, much to the manager’s chagrin.
This potentially catastrophic situation seems to have been averted. Samuel Eto’o even alluded to his manager’s comments in a comical goal celebration.
However, this episode should serve as a warning. Mourinho is very lucky to still command the respect of his strikers.
A disgraceful war of words in the media with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger earlier in the season also backfired heavily on Mourinho.
Labelling one of the most respected footballing figures in the country as a “specialist in failure” demonstrated a lack of class on the Chelsea manager’s behalf.
Surely the dissemination of such distasteful comments will affect his ability to discipline his players for any future outbursts?
Approaching the business end of the season, the need for Mourinho to curb his behaviour and rein in his ego is greater than ever – even if it means disappointing the hordes of expectant journalists, eager to report the latest memorable soundbite.
With the Champions League and Premier League at stake, Chelsea need Mourinho the tactical mastermind. Nothing more.