Broken Paintbrushes: The Fall of José Mourinho

Broken Paintbrushes: The Fall of José Mourinho

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Claiming only eleven points from the opening twelve games, Chelsea’s dismal start has become the worst start to a season under any team managed by José Mourinho, with recent form showing no indication of changing. Nick Gardener analyses how they went from Champions of England to mid-table occupants.

Having lost their last three games, the total of all the games they lost last season, it is evident that something is sincerely wrong at Stamford Bridge; but where does the blame lie? Is it with the fruitless players, or with the frustrated manager? In my opinion, it’s a little bit of both.

First of all, and this has been said time and time again by pundits and fans alike, key players that were pivotal to last year’s crusade to the title are failing to perform at both ends of the pitch. At the front, Fabregas has managed to provide only a single assist from twelve games, following a league topping eighteen in the previous campaign, and has failed to have any influence on key matches. Diego Costa, whose bullish behaviour and aggressive play-style brought the blues a whopping TWENTY goals last season, has notched only TWICE this year, making the back pages for ‘playing dirty’ instead of playing well. Last year’s player of the season, Eden Hazard, has failed to produce the scintillating form that won him the respect of his peers last year; scoring only one goal and assisting two, he’s been a far cry from the player that haunted league defences throughout the entire 2014-2015 season. Chelsea’s prodigal son, for now at least, seems to have fallen.

At the back the infamous ‘parked bus’ has well and truly broken down. John Terry, who played every minute of last season, has lost his place in the first team due to sloppy performances. Nemanja Matic, whose flawless defensive ability held attackers at bay for the entirety of last year, has failed to have the same influence this time around. At the very centre of it all, his countryman, Branislav Ivanovic, who has showcased performances so astoundingly bad, so categorically appalling, that he has not only provided an incredibly weak link for attackers to exploit (shown time and time again, with Chelsea’s home loss to Southampton being a prime example of this), but has also lost all favour with the fans, with many calling for him to be indefinitely dropped or sold altogether. Chelsea’s team revolves around certain players playing well, and with these foundations showing cracks, the stability of the champions is being questioned and exploited time and time again.

Chelsea have been a shadow of their former self. Photo by:


Secondly, and more crucially in my opinion, it comes down to Mourinho’s failings as a manager.

Now before you fly off the handle, hear me out. The Chelsea manager’s success cannot be disputed. His resume is one of the greatest of all time, hosting accolades most managers can only dream of, including two trebles under his belt. All in all, Mourinho is truly the Da Vinci of the football world; he is an artist, specialising in making good teams great and leading them to glory.

However, at this moment in time, Chelsea are not a good team.

If you give an artist of Mourinho’s calibre paintbrushes and paint, they will provide you with portraits that will inspire and shock the world. If you give an artist the broken sticks that were once paintbrushes, the resulting portrait will be as bad as the tools you’ve given him.

To bring my metaphor to a more coherent point, Mourinho is not used to failure. He’s never had a team experience such a drop in quality over such a short period of time, and his inability to solve the crisis is undeniable. He’s dropped star players, made multiple tirades towards the referees, shaved his hair off and denied Chelsea’s shortcomings, be it abusive play, simulations, or attempts to deceive officials, at every turn. Like the artist with broken paintbrushes, José has been taken completely out of his comfort zone, and has absolutely no clue how to resolve the crisis he’s facing because of this.

He’s not a Nigel Pearson or Tony Pulis, he’s never had to brawl for survival before, which is arguably just what Chelsea need right now; a brawler. Someone who has had experienced the brink, looked it in the eye, and fought tirelessly to regain the status of their club, a philosophy encapsulated within Liverpool’s new manager Jurgen Klopp. Klopp would have been the answer to Chelsea’s prayers right now, showing massive success with Borussia Dortmund throughout his tenure, and surviving the same crisis in his final season excellently, leading Dortmund to the final of the German cup as his swansong. However, with the energetic German off the market, Chelsea may have to look elsewhere if they choose to part ways with their Portuguese leader, a possibility becoming ever more likely with each passing fixture.


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