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Ronnie Whelan: Jose just reaps what he sows

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Phil Parkinson the manager of Bradford City is congratulated by Jose Mourinho

Phil Parkinson the manager of Bradford City is congratulated by Jose Mourinho

Phil Parkinson the manager of Bradford City is congratulated by Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho was right when he said that Chelsea's performance and result against Bradford City were a disgrace but I get the feeling that he wasn't including himself in the firing line. He should be the main target.

If it was a disgrace the way his team played, well then, ultimately that is down to him and no amount of showboating or handshaking should divert us from that fact.

I've always been a believer in the FA Cup, even in recent years when managers like Alex Ferguson paid it no respect at all. In 2000, he was given permission to fly his team out of England to Brazil for a non-event FIFA club tournament when he should have been preparing for a Cup tie.

That was a body blow to a competition which, for me, is still the essence of what football in England should be all about - thrills, spills, giant-killers and always the prospect of glory.

Ferguson set a trend and it became normal to send out a team of kids or reserve team players in the Cup, showing no respect to the opposition or the competition.

If the English FA had any teeth, they would have taken action against clubs fielding weakened teams but because squads were improving in quality and depth, Ferguson and other top managers could always throw out 11 players with fancy transfer fees behind their name and claim they were fielding a strong line-up.

There was no appetite to confront the issue and the FA Cup began to drift along, a playground for lower division teams but only taken seriously by the top five or six clubs if their motley crew of apprentices and fringe players could summon up enough form to get them close to the final, at which point they went back to the training ground and the A-list stepped in..

It was when Premier League clubs midtable and below, and even Championship sides, did the same that many observers began to talk about the demise of the FA Cup and how it was no longer relevant in the 'modern' game.

On the face of it, you could say that Mourinho's selection against Bradford should have been more than capable of winning, especially when they were 2-0 up and cruising.

But there's much more to it than that. It was not his strongest team and some of the lads who did play might have had their own agendas in mind.

If you're not getting your game in the important Premier League games, maybe you might not be fussed about breaking a leg in a Cup tie.

Maybe years of casual disrespect for the FA Cup from managers like Mourinho has got into players heads and, in particular, the foreign lads.

I remember Ossie Ardiles's absolute joy when he won the trophy with Spurs in 1981 and how much it meant to him but the days when the FA Cup final was a global event watched wherever football was popular are long gone.

Foreign players do not appear to have the connection they used to have or the knowledge of FA Cup history and tradition because it has been eroded away so much.

I believe that this contributed to the fact that Chelsea and Manchester City, mostly populated by European and South American players, lost out badly to weaker opposition.

I must say, Bradford and Middlesbrough's performances raised another big flag for me. I saw young lads from all over these islands play great football over the weekend, and with the transfer window about to shut, it struck me that maybe the bigger clubs have taken their eye off the ball.

When you think about it, every weekend about a thousand professional footballers are doing their stuff in the lower divisions and the vast majority of them are from these islands. It is impossible to imagine that in amongst all of that, Premier League clubs cannot find lads good enough to make the step up. I suspect they don't really care anymore. I know all of the top clubs now have big academy complexes with the latest aids to player development housed under the one roof.

expensive

However, despite all that expensive coaching and education, not many of any nationality make the step up now because, at any point, Mourinho or Manuel Pellegrini can lash £30m down on the table for the finished product. Robbie Savage did a 'hit or miss' assessment of the all the players Liverpool have signed under Brendan Rodgers, the majority of them foreign players and couldn't disagree with the end result. No more than a handful was worth the coin which was paid.

I know I saw players doing their stuff for Bradford and Middlesbrough who were, without any doubt, better than some of the players Rodgers has in his squad or Liverpool have had stretching back to Gerrard Houllier's time.

An incredible amount of money was spent on absolute duds. I cannot believe that there were not locally based options that were worth a punt, and considerably cheaper.

Maybe this FA Cup weekend has opened our eyes in the same way Southampton's remarkable production line has focused attention on locally talent in the last two seasons.

I know one thing for sure. I saw more heart, more passion and more commitment from League One and Championship players then I saw from Manchester City or Chelsea's pampered foreign legion in the last few days.


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