John Giles: Jose Mourinho caught in a trap he set for himself and could walk again
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Jose Mourinho is right on the edge. His team is losing, his demeanour is thunderous and his relationship with Roman Abramovich is very clearly on the rocks again.
It seems absolutely ridiculous that two grown adults should find themselves back in the same destructive cycle which ended in Mourinho leaving Stamford Bridge despite winning all before him other than the Champions League for his owner.
But I believe that Mourinho is now close to walking again and the only thing that is keeping him in his job is the fact that he has nowhere else to go. He signed a four-year deal and he is caught in a trap.
Abramovich has not learned the lesson which hit him straight between the eyes in the years after Mourinho left and manager after manager came and went with unpredictable amounts of success.
This summer's transfer dealings by Chelsea tell me that Mourinho is no longer operating under the conditions he worked so hard to achieve second time around, indeed wherever he manages, and that he must feel trapped and deeply uncomfortable with his circumstances.
A big alarm bell rang when Abramovich overruled him on Petr Cech and allowed his move to Arsenal and it is deeply ironic that the Gunners new goalkeeper will be wearing his new club's colours against a Chelsea team this weekend denied the services of Thibaut Courtois.
Mourinho opposed the move and for him, it was a bad bit if business. Events have proven him right but his stand was the correct one either way.
Abramovich should not have meddled, even for sentimental reasons. How odd that Mourinho, the football manager, should be the one making the correct business decision while the great businessman, Abramovich was the one making the wrong football decision?
It's a wonderful illustration of how to do your football business badly and I doff my hat to Abramovich for providing such a crystal clear example.
I'm not sure where this will end up but my gut feeling is that Mourinho could walk at any time. If he makes it to Christmas, he will have found some compromise but I don't think this show will run for too much longer.
Mourinho fought for the right conditions and only returned to Chelsea because he believed he had them. It is very obvious that the ground has shifted underneath him and the biggest casualty of this is the team and the players.
Dressingroom morale is like fine china and it will not react well to big shocks. There's been two or three already this season and form is suffering badly.
Title-winning players do not become also-rans in three months. They are not responding to Mourinho or to Manchester City's very decisive start to the season and are already trailing far behind in the title race.
There is no respite either. Champions League football followed by a huge London derby will keep the searchlight focused sharply on Chelsea. Lose to Arsenal and Mourinho will be under ferocious pressure.
While all this is happening, Louis van Gaal blusters through the week from match to match with absolute belief in himself and the fact that the Glazer family are fully supporting his endeavours. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Louis van Gaal is a cause for confusion. He does so many things right and then his team runs out on the pitch and I'm left scratching my head.
How envious Mourinho must be? This was the job he wanted and van Gaal is revelling in the open cheque policy at Old Trafford.
I'm not fully convinced that van Gaal is getting the players he wants but that's down to Ed Woodward rather than any denial of funding.
The Glazers understand the principle of backing the man you hire but I'm sure there resolve will be tested by van Gaal.
He may well turn out to be an extraordinarily expensive mistake but I suspect that the Glazers learned well the lesson that picking the wrong manager is very different from picking the right manager and not supporting him fully.