While Jose Mourinho, with Chelsea and other clubs, has been on the receiving end of some bad losses, the 3-0 loss to Manchester City will go down as one of the worst of his career, adding to the turmoil he seems to be in, not thriving this time, for a dumb reason as a feud with the doctor of his own club.
Some thought that this was classic Mourinho. Making people forget about his and his players’ mistakes in the opening home draw against Swansea by deflecting all the attention to his row with Eva Carneiro, and then complaining that he’s being asked about non-football issues. This seems like the perfect Mourinho way to prepare for a big match, coming a little bit too early in the season.
But turns out, whatever his mind games’ purpose was, it didn’t work. From the first moment of their visit to the Etihad Stadium, which ended in a 1-1 draw last season, that Chelsea’s problems from their draw against Swansea were coming back. Too slow on offense except for Eden Hazard, Nemanja Matic isolated and alone in physical confrontations against a much more dynamic midfield, and Branislav Ivanovic not looking like the dominant right back from a year ago.
Sergio Aguero scored the first goal because John Terry made the mistake of leaving the box to help on David Silva. The second goal came deep into the second half because of poor corner coverage by Ivanovic and Diego Costa, who had another match he’d like to forget, and has basically been playing poorly since the beginning of 2015. The third goal was after Chelsea broke down, and a deserving Fernandinho got to feel like a scorer for once.
Chelsea teams under Mourinho lose. It happens. Like their 3-0 defeat late last season at The Hawthorns against West Brom, but that was garbage time. It doesn’t happen in August, against a direct rival for the title. I doesn’t happen as Chelsea get bullied and physically beaten all over the pitch, while losing almost every encounter that had to do with brute force and speed.
Right now, Chelsea look like the combination of rusty, ill prepared and maybe missing something at the beginning of the season. The minimal changes made to the tema leave a lineup that might need a new spark in comparison to last season, even if they’re more than likely to look better as the season progresses. Something isn’t working and it’s beyond just early season squeaking.
Mourinho was his usual self in the post match interview. He talked about how Chelsea were the better team in the second half (they weren’t really) and how the 3-0 win is fake, insisting that if Eden Hazard scores a big chance, it would have been completely different. But he forgot how Begovic saved his side from being out of the match much earlier with Aguero missing from close range a number of times. He forgets that people don’t live and see the match through his words, but actually watch it and know what happened.
Mourinho wouldn’t have it any other way. This is him deflecting, like he always does. But in this week, he has been deflecting too much. He’s experienced enough to not let it affect the way he prepared his team, but besides the underperforming of his own players, it seems that he himself might have been caught up in too many things, allowing it to trickle down to his own ability to fix the problems from the first weekend, putting Chelsea in an unexpected place this early in the season.