If you want to know the reason why Chelsea are looking good for a Premier League and FA Cup double and Jose Mourinho is crying in his soup, compare and contrast N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba.
Match-winner and team engine Kante is the embodiment of what a good professional should be about.
When Chelsea were under some pressure in the early part of the game, Kante and his teammates held their nerve and mostly prevented Manchester United from creating any decent opportunities.
Usually, you don’t notice what he’s doing on the pitch unless you specifically look for it but in Monday’s FA Cup tie at Stamford Bridge he was Chelsea’s talisman.
Kante has no time for anything but work when he’s on a pitch and he does that with the kind of quiet efficiency which makes him such a valuable and pivotal cog in everything Antonio Conte wants from his team.
When he’s in this kind of form, tackling, prompting and prodding and then scoring, he is the kind of player that allows Conte to sleep easy at night while those who have to face him toss and turn.
Being that good at football requires a lot of effort, a lot of talent and an uncluttered brain which can make the right decisions at the right time.
Kante delivers all three in an understated way and it is clearly enough for him. Winning at one of the biggest clubs in the world is sufficient.
Pogba has a different view of how a professional footballer should be and this is very obvious from the way he plays. His mind is full of social media and his image. His attention to personal grooming seems a lot more intense than his attitude to playing the game.
I know people will see this as an old-fashioned view but Kante makes nonsense of that.
Here is a player at the height of his powers and I would also note that you don’t hear very much about Kante when he’s off the pitch and that doesn’t surprise me.
Pogba doesn’t impact on games the way he should. He has all the talent in the world but he doesn’t know how to use it properly.
I’m sure Mourinho must be frustrated beyond belief by Pogba because he hasn’t really done it for him at all.
Even more annoying, Kante is Mourinho’s kind of player. In his first coming at Stamford Bridge he had Claude Makelele. Pogba is lightweight beside those two names.
I tried to ignore the touchline stuff and would have preferred if Conte didn’t allow himself to be dragged into Mourinho’s bubble but he was protecting his patch and it was harmless enough.
What was anything but harmless was the crowd’s reaction to Mourinho and how many hurled abuse at him.
I didn’t like that but perhaps Mourinho should take a look in the mirror someday and wonder how fans who worshipped the ground he walked on when he gave them three Premier League titles over two spells could forget that so quickly.
Fans are fickle but not that fickle and Mourinho only has himself to blame.
If you behave in a certain way, people will often reflect that back at you.