Drama and controversy always follows Jose Mourinho, and nothing has changed since his return to Chelsea and the Premier League, mostly noted for his early benching and treatment of Juan Mata and his decision to loan out Romelu Lukaku, even though he might have been the best striker on his squad.
The numbers, at least when strikers are concerned, speak for themselves. Lukaku has scored four goals on his first three matches for Everton, while Chelsea have yet to see a single goal from their striking trio that keeps rotating. Fernando Torres is now injured, just when things were starting to look good for him; Samuel Eto’o has looked as you’d expect an aging player who hasn’t played at the highest level in recent years; and Demba Ba is not in Mourinho’s plans at the moment.
The Mata issue is over. After being benched and actually criticized publicly for his work ethic in training and on the pitch, especially when Chelsea are without the ball, the message came loud and clear for the Spaniard, who has played well in almost every opportunity since – in the Champions League against Steaua, against Norwich in the league and against Tottenham when he came off the bench to change the match in the second half.
Now everyone seems to be focused on Mourinho sending Kevn de Bruyne, a player who started for him on the first match of the season, to some sort of reserves or U-21 exile, because he hasn’t been playing or training well. Mourinho hates it when the media questions his decisions, so he uses those situations to actually humiliate the player publicly, hoping to get the right kind of reaction from him.
There’s also been the decision to bring John Terry into the lineup, preferring his leadership to Gary Cahill’s skills. He prefers Branislav Ivanovic to continue his right back experience, even if it greatly limits Chelsea when it comes to attacking down the flank, and the fact that Mourinho doesn’t have any natural right wingers now that Victor Moses has also been loaned out to Liverpool.
Mourinho loves the media when they present him as a funny, witty and successful manager. When they dare question his decisions, he comes off as arrogant, mean and vindictive. When asked about Lukaku’s scoring run for Everton, Mourinho simply said: Everton is not Chelsea. The same Everton team that beat Chelsea, even without Lukaku.
So far, Chelsea are back on track. They’ve lost once and drawn twice, with the draws coming away from home, against Manchester Untied and Tottenham, results you can live with. With the league offering us big teams underachieving, nothing is too late for Chelsea, who are only two points behind league leaders Arsenal and Liverpool.
Jose Mourinho might be controversial in the decisions he’s making, but he’s probably the best manager compared to the rest of those he’ll be fighting with for the title. The problem is that the Madrid experience hasn’t humbled him in any way, and even though he learns from his mistakes, nothing suggests that he won’t make more of them as the season progresses, unlike past campaigns with previous clubs.