After their 2-1 win against QPR last weekend, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho criticised the support given by the home fans at Stamford Bridge. He said the atmosphere was so bad, it felt like his side were playing in an “empty stadium” and he also added he thinks fan support has got worse since his first spell with the Pensioners.
Realising he had upset the Chelsea fans which adore him, he apologised and said the following: “Everybody at Chelsea knows how much I love the club, how much I want it to improve and be part of the club in the future. Everybody knows. Even a moment of criticism has to be analysed with different eyes, with the eyes of somebody who knows why I came back to Chelsea and why I’m here with my heart and why I want to stay for a long long time.
”I am just somebody who loves football a lot. I love my job. I am lucky to do my job in the club I like so much and feel such a connection and maybe that makes me lead the club with a different emotion. If I do it in a professional way and concentrate only on training and selection, it is because this is just for me a job. But it is more than that, because it’s Chelsea.
”Maybe I go a little bit too far. But I see myself in the stands, watching Chelsea and I want to play, I want to help. If I’m not a player I cannot play, if I’m not a coach I cannot make decisions, if I’m just a fan what can I do to help. That’s just my view.”
What he is asking for is for the Chelsea fans to be more vocal and help get behind the team. Is he right to say this and criticise the fans that hold him strongly in their hearts? Certainly not, because fans are a key part of every football club and the majority of them sing and bellow their hearts out at every game. Most of them get behind the team no matter what the score line is.
Well, Chelsea fans came back with a strong response mid-week when their side played in the Champions League against Maribor. Just 642 Chelsea fans travelled for Wednesday’s game but they racked up a decibel reading of 92 in Maribor. They directed chants at the Special One such as ‘Jose, give us a song’ and ‘Sing up Mourinho’ to make sure they were heard. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, but after the game only John Terry and Petr Cech went to thank the away support, meaning the Blues captain had to call the rest of his team mates back, some who were already heading for the tunnel.
Mourinho had this response after the game. He said: “I can clearly say we are the team to get less support in home matches. I don’t question the passion and the love – I’m nobody to question that and I know clearly that’s not true. Chelsea fans show us their passion for this club every day, but there is a certain line of living (way of behaving) at the matches at Stamford Bridge.
“The team then starts playing like it’s a quiet, soft game at home.”
Mourinho is wrong to criticise Chelsea fans and he has recognised that and apologised accordingly which is great. However, it seems as though he is pinning the teams quiet and soft performances on the fact the fans don’t get behind the team. How do you explain the support shown on Wednesday then? The 642 fans were behind Chelsea all the way and they only managed a 1-1 draw. Only a few players immediately showed respect to the fans after the game which is appalling. They’re going to be frustrated and quiet if the team doesn’t achieve the result desired and if the players don’t show the fans the respect they deserve.
Improved performances start on the pitch with the players, not with the fans support.