Thursday 18 January 2018

Paul Hyland: Mourinho's mad dream is a team of me, me, me

Chelsea Assistant first team coach Rui Faria (left), manager Jose Mourinho and Assistant first team coach Steve Holland (right) on the bench
Chelsea Assistant first team coach Rui Faria (left), manager Jose Mourinho and Assistant first team coach Steve Holland (right) on the bench

WHEN Chelsea win, it's all about Jose. They won against Leicester and the champagne will flow at Stamford Bridge at the weekend. Presumably, the players will get a drop.

After Mourinho's self-regarding comments about his importance to Chelsea left us in doubt about the players' place in the scheme of things, it was a wonder they didn't wear Jose masks against Leicester at the King's Power Stadium.

Oddly enough, there was no acknowledgement from a small pod of Chelsea fans at the game that the team's most important player is actually the manager; no sign of the song made famous by Ireland fans in Japan when they warbled their way from Yokohama to Seoul with endless verses of "we all dream of a team of Gary Breens".

Mind you, it's hard to fit Jose and Mourinho to the music - "I only dream of a team of me, me, me" fits nicely.

We know that Chelsea's talented footballers are just drones, pawns for the manager to move around a grid.

When Edin Hazard slips another silky pass to spark a Chelsea attack or unleashes one from an improbable distance or angle, there's a little Jose in his head, telling him what to do. Without him, surely this boy would be lost?

Heaven knows why Real Madrid might fancy a nibble at Hazard in the summer and could arrive at Stamford Bridge waving Gareth Bale and £100m. Surely if Hazard left, it would cut this telepathic link to Mourinho which makes him the footballer he is?

The weird thing is that many of the same players who took another step towards the Premier League title against Leicester did just the same under Carlo Ancelotti and won the Champions League with Roberto di Matteo. Neither manager felt they deserved the kind of credit Mourinho has claimed for himself.

If it was even tongue in cheek, you might have a laugh about it but Mourinho perpetually displays all the signs of a man who was weedy and not very good at football when he was a kid and has never quite got over that fact.

How his reduction of the players to mere cogs in the Mourinho machine went down in the bus on the way to Leicester is anyone's guess but it certainly didn't impact on Chelsea' ability to gather points, even if it took them 45 minutes to warm up. Before that, they shipped a goal amid chaos at the back.

When Marc Albrighton slotted a nice one through a forest of Chelsea legs and into the back of the net in first-half injury time, where was Jose for that one?

Sulking on the touchline and about as useful as a showroom dummy.

Roughly the same spot he was in when Didier Drogba scored, John Terry nailed the lead goal and Ramires let fly for the icing on top. It's all about the players, Jose. Get over it.

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