Monday 23 October 2017

Mourinho's verbals camouflage Chelsea's faltering strikeforce

Chelsea 2 Fulham 0

Jeremy Wilson

The supposed crisis, Jose Mourinho admitted, was largely his own fault. And no, that was not because of anything he might have got wrong, such as the startling exclusion of Juan Mata and David Luiz from his match-day squad, but rather his extraordinary past record.

"When you win once in 10 years people don't expect a lot of you," Mourinho said. "When you win in 10 consecutive years people expect a lot. I am guilty of that and accept the critics. That is my fault."

Mourinho is only partially right – Roman Abramovich's previous impatience is the main explanation for the focus on the struggles of Chelsea managers – but it was a nice diversionary tactic and part of a vintage post-match performance that far exceeded anything his team had actually produced.

Having sent a few verbal hand grenades in the direction of the Sky punditry team of Jamie Redknapp and Ruud Gullit, Mourinho was also open in explaining that Mata and Luiz simply needed to look in the mirror to understand why they had been dropped.

With Oscar scoring in the absence of Mata and Chelsea so defensively secure, Mourinho will know that his biggest problem is actually with the strikers.

There is a theory that he would actually prefer all the spotlight to be on Mata and Luiz rather than Samuel Eto'o, Fernando Torres or Demba Ba. Five Premier League matches have now passed and we are still waiting for the first Premier League goal this season from a Chelsea striker.

"The only way is to work," Mourinho said. "Samuel is understandable. You are on the top of the world for almost 10 years and then you go to a different reality (in Russia).

"We know he went there for economic reasons. I knew his level would go down but for me he is a very good player. He is lacking sharpness but that is normal." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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