Wednesday 17 January 2018

'He burns out players' - Jose Mourinho methods attacked by Fabio Capello and Johan Cruyff

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho (C) talks to assistant manager Rui Faria during the Southampton defeat
Reuters / Dylan Martinez
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho (C) talks to assistant manager Rui Faria during the Southampton defeat Reuters / Dylan Martinez

Jeremy Wilson

Former England manager Fabio Capello and ex-Barcelona manager Johan Cruyff intensified the pressure surrounding Jose Mourinho yesterday with a stinging double attack on his managerial style.

Capello claimed that Mourinho always “burns out” his players mentally within two years while Cruyff has suggested that Mourinho's lack of playing success means that he is unable to take a step back from limelight.

Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat by Southampton was Chelsea’s sixth in only 12 matches in all competitions this season and is provoking renewed debate about Mourinho’s so-called “third season syndrome”.

The theory is that Mourinho’s methods, and the regular controversy or tension about some issue or another, is brilliantly effective in the short-term but gradually exhausts players both physically and mentally.

Mourinho himself was utterly dismissive of that argument when what he called the “stupid” third season question was put to him. He pointed out that he had won two trophies at Chelsea during the third season of his first tenure at Stamford Bridge and then the Spanish Super Cup during his third season at Real Madrid.

What Mourinho ignored, however, was that his teams reached their peak during his first or second seasons at Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Madrid before he either left or stayed amid intensified off-field friction and relatively declining results.

Capello, who has won seven league titles in Italy and Spain, believes that Chelsea’s problems this season are the confirmation of a pattern.

“Mourinho burns out his players after a year and a half, at most two years,” Capello told Fox Sports. “I had already heard it when he was in Madrid and now we have confirmation in London.”

Capello was also quoted by Gazzetta dello Sport as saying that the Chelsea players were no longer “mentally” able to give Mourinho what he wants.

“His cycles tend to last around this period of time,” said Capello. “He's a strategist. He, in this difficult time, has asked the company [the Chelsea board] to take sides with him or against him. And the company made a statement defending across the board.”

Cruyff believes that Mourinho, who is facing a misconduct charge from the Football Association for claiming that referees are afraid to give Chelsea penalties, should not always make himself the centre of attention. Mourinho received public backing from Chelsea on Monday in a rare club statement although it was also made clear that performances “must” improve.

“He's controversial,” Cruyff told Sky Sports. “What I like about him is he's always capable of creating good ambience within the players and what I don't like is that he always puts himself on the first row. He should be on the second row. It's probably because of his background, where he's never been cheered by 100,000 people, or whistled at by 100,000 people.

“Maybe it's because of that, maybe because of the interest from the press, but I don't think he is educating children to play football or educating for life. He should behave better.

"With Chelsea I enjoy some individual players, but I think they have better players on the bench than playing.”

Chelsea lie in 16th place, with eight points from as many games, 10 points behind leaders Manchester City and seven off the top four.

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