Mourinho’s battle with the Chelsea board is gaining strength and speed. Last week he issued a ‘back me or sack me’ plea only for the board to give him their backing – and tell him in no uncertain terms that he has the squad to carry out what they expect him to carry out!
Mourinho has taken to playing players out of position as a matter of principle. Papy Djilobodji was bought and then immediately dropped into a black hole, and none of the new signings seem to have bedded into the team this season. It could be because Mourinho found it difficult to improve on a team who won the league so easily last season, or it could simply be because the board wouldn’t fund an overhaul.
Chelsea’s squad needs to be freshened up, the team aren’t playing well and Mourinho needs to restore the faith the players have in him as a manager.
On the back of last season, none of these players deserve to be axed, but from a ruthless managerial point of view, getting rid of some players to freshen up the squad is much needed, and Mourinho isn’t of the squeamish type when it comes to showing players the door…
The ultimate utility player, Ramires has been a very useful player indeed for Chelsea over the years.
But with a manager continuously chopping and changing, when he can’t seem to settle on a winning team, having a player like Ramires is more of a curse than a blessing. Mourinho needs to add solidity to his midfield in order to help his back four, and Ramires isn’t the man to come in for Nemanja Matic in order to provide that.
Although Chelsea’s defence is perhaps their biggest problem so far this season, with Diego Costa too fat to be at his best, and new signing Radamel Falcao not finding the net as regularly as he did when he was on top of the footballing world.
Chelsea need a fresh face. Pedro was the signing who was supposed to provide that, but it now looks like Chelsea need something more.
Last season, Chelsea were defined by their ability to attack and score goals as well as defend. But this season the creativity of Fabregas and Oscar as well as the ruthlessness of Diego Costa has deserted them and they may need to make room in the squad for another attacking recruit. If that’s the case, Remy might be forced out.
The one player who the Chelsea fans do not want to see in the team this season is also the one player who Jose Mourinho doesn’t look like wanting to drop.
Ivanovic has been one of the best full-backs in the league for quite some time, but this season he looks beyond his best.
Chelsea probably need another centre back to fill the John Terry gap, but getting rid of Ivanovic would allow Mourinho to play Cesar Azpilicueta on his natural right-sided position and Baba Rahman on the left, shoring up the full-back positions and helping the defence for now.
When your defence isn’t working, either your defenders aren’t good enough or they’re not getting enough protection.
In Chelsea’s case this season, it could be both. Mourinho wants a new centre back, but he’s also chopped and changed in the midfield. Nemanja Matic was the man who protected the defence last season, but this season Mourinho has dropped the Serbian and then humiliated him by subbing him on at half time and then off again only 28 minutes later.
Clearly Chelsea need a player who can play this role, but Mourinho clearly hasn’t been impressed enough by Mikel in the two years he’s been back at the club to give him the jersey. Mourinho needs to freshen up the squad, and players like Mikel who have been there for a long time and who weren’t in the first team plans last season should be the ones he looks at for the chop.
His performances this season have been poor. He’s been well below the standard he has set for himself since he arrived at Chelsea. But that’s not why Chelsea should get rid of Nemanja Matic.
The problem isn’t his form, he can come back from that. The problem is how Mourinho has treated him. The substitution incident against Southampton is bad enough, but to come out in the press and say that you had to bring him off because he lacks the creativity of Oscar and the mental toughness of Fabregas is too far.
It’s one thing to say to the press that Matic is less creative than Oscar, but that much is clearly true. But comparing Matic’s mental toughness with that of his teammate is worse. But even worse than that is saying that Matic is less mentally tough than a man who goes missing every year after February.
It is surely damning for the Serbian, and mending the relationship between club and player will be very tough indeed.