Wednesday 13 December 2017

John Giles: Silent Mourinho lets team do the talking


SILENCE has descended on Stamford Bridge. Jose Mourinho has buttoned his lip and his players are doing the talking on the pitch. It's a much better arrangement for everyone.

It is amazing what you see when you're not holding your ears against Mourinho's invective. His team has lost just twice this season. His players have scored more goals than anyone other than Manchester City and both are on 63.

His defence has conceded just 26 goals in 30 games and only Southampton are better than that - an amazing statistic in itself and a credit to Ronald Koeman.

But it is Chelsea's great consistency at both ends of the pitch which has given Mourinho such a strong position a week into April.

It's a relief to be talking about Chelsea the football team as opposed to Chelsea the endless sour headline and to take a step back and admire what Mourinho has actually done this season.

He has all but won the Premier League title now. There is no consistency in the teams behind him and it is hard to see Arsenal, Manchester United or Manchester City doing what must be done to at least challenge Mourinho by winning every remaining game.


I said a while back that I didn't want Chelsea to win anything because of Mourinho's awful attitude and I think many neutrals felt the same at the time.

I have a feeling that sentiment like that percolated through to Roman Abramovich and we do know that he is very sensitive about the way Chelsea is perceived.

So much so that he sacked Mourinho and went looking for someone who would give him 'sexy football'. He wanted his club to play like Barcelona.

Mourinho has been very quiet and if he wasn't told to pipe down by his boss he is still smart enough to realise himself that he went too far with all that conspiracy nonsense and was making a fool of himself and his club.

More than that, he was making his players a target for referees who are only human and might be less inclined to let something pass if the player is wearing a blue shirt and the manager is calling him names.

Whether Mourinho's madness served some purpose he was aiming for or not I don't know and I don't care. His team has been winning and dominating the Premier League without a bad word out of him and I see no reason why that cannot be the case at all times. Behind him, Arsenal and Manchester United are as strong as they have been all season, one through the dogged determination of one man to stick to his philosophy and the other by accident.

Arsene Wenger has seen off his critics again and Louis van Gaal is laughing all the way to the Champions League.

The Dutchman stumbled upon a balanced side against Spurs and Liverpool. It was a combination of injuries and circumstances which finally pushed Wayne Rooney up front where he belongs, Marouane Fellaini alongside him and Michael Carrick into midfield after a long lay-off. He is now where Mourinho was last season and if he is as good a coach as his CV says, he will need to identify and sign the players he feels he needs.

Mourinho was surgical in his transfer dealings and had to be because of the Fair Play regulations. He bought Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic and each one has played a big, big part in the story of Chelsea's season to date.

This is one of Mourinho's great strengths. He inherited a very different squad from the one he left but has made the best of it by adding key men.

He has always been a defensively minded coach and he quickly re-established discipline at the back as a pillar of his team

Van Gaal must do the same things this summer if he is to be judged a success but he has a free pass for the rest of the season and can let his players reflect that.

Champions League football is in the bag and that was the main target the Glazers would have set for him last summer.

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