Why there is no convenient link with Chelsea and Manchester United

The return of the Special One

There’s a convenience to the story of Jose Mourinho and the ‘snub’ from Manchester United; it’s timing perfectly in line with Chelsea’s not so special form across domestic and European games.

But should we take much stock in it? Many would have rightly thought that Mourinho was the perfect successor to Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, the Portuguese holding the experience and track record to continue the winning ways of the club. Though upon closer inspection, and certainly before this season kicked off, David Moyes seemed the far more sensible appointment, one with an eye on the long term.

Chelsea and Mourinho are a perfect match, at least prior to the season starting. If Moyes was right for United and Pep Guardiola the only logical and available signing for Bayern Munich, there can be little argument about Mourinho not being ideal for Chelsea.

It’s very difficult, however, to see any clear parallels between the story of Mourinho’s breakdown following United’s choice to go another way this summer and the form of Chelsea. Juan Mata is a story that merits its own discussion, and certainly there is a case to be made that the recruitment policy of the club was a little wayward, stocking up on attacking midfielders when a world-class striker would have been a better signing. But for all the criticism that can be aimed at Mourinho for various actions over his managerial career, shouldn’t we always expect absolute commitment, even if the club are not fully behind his ideals?

Football has become a world where nothing but instant success is acceptable. Mourinho signed a four-year contract with the club in the summer, and despite the possibility there is that he may not see out the length of his term, there is almost always a view to building something beyond just the next game.

This Chelsea squad is not that of Mourinho; like most Chelsea managers, if not all, he has inherited this squad from the owner’s vision. Of course, you’d be hard pressed to find a manager who wouldn’t like to take control of a squad boasting Eden Hazard, Oscar, Mata, and countless others, but every manager does have his own set of tactical ideas and principles. The Chelsea owner may want Barcelona football, but Mourinho isn’t in the business for that. It takes time to mould even the most talented and able squad into one that can accurately and effectively carry out the manager’s orders. In spite of the Mata situation, that is what we are seeing now.

The football may be boring – in fact the football is boring. But Mourinho is often considered one of Europe’s leading managers. How many clubs wouldn’t take him as their next appointment? You could probably think of about three, possibly four at a push. So where’s the time? There’s an annoyance, a questioning and certainly a level of angst towards Mourinho’s decision to keep Mata on the bench, but that’s a separate topic. The point is, winning football isn’t instant, the best teams aren’t put together overnight. Barcelona lost their opening league game under Guardiola 1-0 away to Numancia. The next match was a 1-1 draw at home to Racing.

It’s a fortunate set of circumstances – fortunate for the media – that the Mourinho/Man United story has come out at this time. Though I for one see little weight in using it against Chelsea’s current form.

Are there links to Chelsea’s form and the Man United story?

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