Thursday 22 February 2018

John Giles: Jose Mourinho is locked in a situation which is toxic for Chelsea and him

Read John Giles' exclusive column every Wednesday in The Herald

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks dejected during last night's defeat to Stoke
Action Images via Reuters / Alex Morton
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks dejected during last night's defeat to Stoke Action Images via Reuters / Alex Morton
John Giles

John Giles

If any man wanted to be sacked from a job as manager of one of the biggest clubs in the world, he would behave precisely in the way Jose Mourinho has been behaving for the last three months.

He has pushed everyone to the point where the grace he gained because his boss can't help but interfere has been lost in a fog of nastiness.

I don't really care any more whether Roman Abramovich is meddling in team affairs or whether Mourinho is a gifted coach. I've had enough of both of them.

Mourinho is running at speed away from the consequences of his actions and at a very basic level, he is throwing off all responsibility for bad results.

But I'm sure there is more to it than that. I'm certain there are factors at work which we do not know about at this particular moment and that Mourinho is locked into a situation which is toxic for him and for Chelsea.

The evidence of our eyes and ears tell us that he can't handle it. He can't handle losing football games or the negative publicity that comes with it.

He is lashing out all around him and not accepting any of the blame for the fact that Chelsea are a shadow of the team they were just six months ago.

His treatment of Eden Hazard is a perfect snapshot of Mourinho's irrational mind. At the end of last season, he rated the lad up there with Messi and Ronaldo and now he won't pick him.

John Terry has been thrown to the wolves and Nemanja Matic is the latest to carry the can for poor performances.

Nothing to do with Mourinho, he's still the Special One in his own mind.


For that reason, there can be no sympathy. It is the accumulation of bad memories over several years which make it impossible to feel anything but anger at the damage he has done to the game.

His ability to coach may be great but he will never be seen as one of the greats. It's ironic, because he wants more than anything else to be accepted by football and football men yet his actions mean that he will be judged wanting by history.

Put simply, people are sick of him. While he was winning, I could admire his ability to organise a group of men into a tough, ruthless and efficient unit but I never liked the sideshow, the nasty side to his character. Now, it is the main event because his team is losing and he has nowhere to hide.

I never believed that he took all the attention on himself to keep it away from his players. It has always been about him. It has always been about his insecurities and his need to be praised.

It may be rooted in the fact that he never played at a high level but that cannot be an excuse for acting like a spoiled child.

Johann Cruyff made a very interesting observation when he noted that Mourinho was never exposed to fame as a player and only experienced it in a real way for the first time when he won the Champions League with Porto.

I've always said that fame is overrated. It's grand when you're in the flush of youth and want to see your name in lights but by the time I reached the end of my career, I understood it well enough to want to avoid it.

Mourinho has a hunger for the limelight and we've seen it too often for that not to be true. I will always remember one example in particular; the moment when he threw himself in front of the players at Wembley after they won the League Cup back in March.

It was pure childishness and attention-seeking. If a teenager did it, you might smile indulgently and have a word in his ear but a grown man, the manager, should not be stretched in front of a football team like that.

Has there been even one great manager who ever did that, ever hogged the limelight in such a blatant and crass way? I can't remember a single example.

I think we're in the end game with this. I believe Mourinho is close to the end of his rope. He is faced with a desperately uncertain future but I think he has had enough.

Abramovich too must be shifting uneasily in his seat and very close to the point I reached a long time ago with Mourinho. It would not surprise me if the axe fell within two weeks.

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