Mourinho searching for answers as life after Drogba proves difficult
Everton 1 Chelsea 0
When Jose Mourinho first arrived in English football, his side carried the destructive energy of a force 10 hurricane. The second coming currently resembles a mild breeze.
Where once Chelsea bulldozed, bullied and snarled their way to victories at the toughest venues, at Goodison Park on Saturday they possessed all the threat of an erratic lawnmower.
They are a team that leaves occasionally pretty impressions on the turf rather than cutting it up and making it bleed. This is Chelsea 2013 AD: After Drogba.
The Chelsea supporters who believed the mere presence of Mourinho would trigger a return to 2004-2006 must recognise the incompleteness of the reunion.
Roman Abramovich's Chelsea without Didier Drogba is like Dr Frankenstein separated from the monster.
Although they were gifted two easy chances by Everton in the first half, both squandered by debutant Samuel Eto'o, there was a timidity and inefficiency to the Chelsea performance which rarely, if ever, existed during Mourinho's first spell.
The ultimate managerial gladiator must reconstruct the conquests of the past without his mighty battleaxe.
Once they fell behind to Steven Naismith's header in first-half injury time, it was surprising and disconcerting how little imagination or productivity there was in pursuit of an equaliser. Tim Howard had no cause to claim for overtime.
Despite insisting there was freakishness to the defeat (his calculator inexplicably counted 21 attempts on goal), Mourinho veered close to admitting he is making do with what he has for now rather than oversee a squad of his own design.
Rafa Benítez made exactly the same complaint on his arrival, although no-one at Stamford Bridge seemed inclined to listen when he said it.
Chelsea's squad resembles a luxury car showroom where every desirable model does exactly the same thing.
In signing Eto'o, who was short of sharpness and a yard of pace from the incarnation we saw at Barcelona and Inter Milan, Mourinho has simply sought an upgrade on Fernando Torres rather than pursue the forlorn hope of finding another Drogba.
It does make the decision to allow Romelu Lukaku leave on loan more bewildering. The Belgian was unveiled as an Everton player before kick-off.
"No, no. They are not the same profile. It is one thing to be the same kind of body – it is another to be the same kind of player. They are completely different," asserted Mourinho on Lukaku.
"Drogba made his history in here and Drogba is gone. Now there is no Drogba.
"I enjoyed that period of my career, but that period has gone. There is no way back.
"We have a different profile of player and we have to play according to the qualities of these players.
"We are not unbeatable. This is a different team. I came here to work with time, to develop the players and play the best they and we can. We have to be effective, be adult and not to be naive. We have to transform the beautiful football we played into goals.
"I am happy to work the team in that direction. There were some fast combinations and it was very nice. But it is also very nice when the ball touches the net.
"We have what we have. We have to work this way and, one day, we are going to score four or five."
Martinez's first league win was more like a one of those industrious victories of the David Moyes era than of impending Spanish revolution.
The thrill for Everton is the points were secured despite obvious limitations. Nikica Jelavic's highly developed skills for anonymity mean Everton have effectively played with no striker all season, but the midfielders and defenders excelled.
None more so than Gareth Barry. You will not see a more accomplished debut than his. He has sacrificed the possibility of Champions League football this season to join Everton, but, having surveyed the title candidates, is predicting the most open Premier League season on record.
"Nobody is that stable and nobody looks like they will run away with it," said Barry. "That means there could be a surprise this season, you never know, and from an Everton point of view we want to get into the mix and finish as high as we can."
Rather like Mourinho, Martinez does not yet possess the personnel to impose his favoured vision, but he is adept at shifting tactical formations.
Naturally, the Everton boss rejected the notion Chelsea are somewhat easier to resist nowadays.
"When you've got Samuel Eto'o, Fernando Torres or Demba Ba, I don't think they are suffering," he said.
"I think that would be very critical of them. They won the Europa League without Drogba last season."
It is the Premier League Mourinho was brought back to regain, however. Early indicators suggest it is going to be more challenging this time around. (© Daily Telegraph, London)