After another press conference rant from Jose Mourinho on Saturday evening, I finally lost patience with this aspect of how the Chelsea manager behaves on a game-to-game basis.
His seven minute diatribe against the world (this was about as specific as it felt), had all the petulance of a small child whose parents won’t buy them any more treats. It was childish, bitter and extremely arrogant in the way he automatically assumed that the media would cover for him again and just say it was part of his inherent character.
The fact is, he did it to deflect attention away from the shambolic, atrocious display his side had just produced against a well-drilled and hungrier Southampton side.
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Mourinho, as much as he is an incredibly frustrating (and at some times intensely unlikeable) man, is a very clever and astute one.
That rant will have been pre-conceived as soon as he arrived at the traditional post-match debrief for the press. It is distinctly possible that he had already devised his plan of action whilst stewing on the bench during the latter stages of the 3-1 home defeat.
Giving the media that much copy and that many quotes was clearly a ploy to keep attention away from the fact that his side look almost unrecognisable from the outfit that strolled to the Premier League title last year.
His accusations (now repeated fairly constantly) about referees, penalties that should have been given but weren’t, penalties that shouldn’t have been given but were, and various other perceived injustices would be tiresome enough if they were true. Since most of them are most definitely not true, they are becoming very tiresome indeed.
He claimed that Chelsea should have had a penalty in the second half, when Falcao ran onto a through ball and collapsed to the ground as the Saints keeper came running out. He omitted the fact that Falcao was already going to ground before the (minimal) contact was made. He also claimed that referees were afraid to give his side decisions, complaints which he has made after several other games this season as well.
He made claims that he was the best manager Chelsea have ever had and that it would be categorically the wrong decision to sack him. His rambling and unfocused monologue, lasting just under seven minutes and containing enough copy to fill roughly seven pages for each newspapers sports section, was specifically designed to take the heat off his tactical decisions.
This way, arguments about his tactical nous, the formation Chelsea should be playing and whether he is still getting the best out of his squad are not discussed as the media are so preoccupied with all his pronouncements.
The point here is that Mourinho is under pressure, and he knows it. In order to try and ease the mounting criticism of him and his team, he is simply lashing out whenever possible against perceived enemies when, in fact, his team have not fallen prey to any more particularly dubious decisions than most sides this year. He needs to stop this petulance and get back to what he still has the ability to do better than anyone else – get the best out of the talented bunch of players he’s in charge of.
This, not raging against the machine, will help Chelsea and Mourinho get back in their stride.