Capello and Cruyff turn up the heat on Mourinho
Fabio Capello and Johan Cruyff intensified the pressure surrounding Jose Mourinho yesterday with a stinging double attack on his managerial style.
Capello claimed that the beleaguered Chelsea manager always "burns out" his players mentally within two years, while Cruyff has suggested that the Portuguese's lack of playing success means that he is unable to take a step back from the limelight.
The 3-1 home defeat against Southampton was Chelsea's sixth in 12 games in all competitions this season and is provoking renewed debate about Mourinho's so-called "third-season syndrome".
The theory is that his methods, and the regular controversy or tension about some issue or another, are brilliantly effective in the short term but gradually exhaust players both physically and mentally.
Mourinho was dismissive of that argument when what he called the "stupid" third season question was put to him. The Portuguese pointed out that he had won two trophies at Chelsea during the third season of his first tenure at Stamford Bridge and then the Spanish Super Cup in his third season at Real Madrid.
What Mourinho ignored, however, was that his teams reached their peak during his first or second seasons at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Madrid before he either left or stayed amid intensified off-field friction and relatively declining results.
Capello, who has won seven league titles in Italy and Spain, believes that Chelsea's problems this season are the confirmation of a pattern.
"Mourinho burns out his players after a year and a half, at most two years," he said. "I had already heard it when he was in Madrid and now we have confirmation in London."
The Italian also claimed that the Chelsea players were no longer "mentally" able to give Mourinho what he wants.
Cruyff believes that Mourinho should not always make himself the centre of attention.
"He's controversial," the former Barcelona coach said. "What I like about him is he's always capable of creating good ambience within the players. What I don't like is that he always puts himself on the first row. He should be on the second row.
"It's probably because of his background, where he's never been cheered by 100,000 people, or whistled at by 100,000 people.
"Maybe it's because of that, maybe because of the interest from the press, but I don't think he is educating children to play football or educating for life." (© Daily Telegraph, London)