There’s no denying that Chelsea and Jose Mourinho have made a tame start to the season. New players can solve Chelsea’s stale appearance, but there may also be something brewing at Stamford Bridge. The signs are a little ominous that history may repeat itself.
- Internal strife. Mourinho has looked a little like a caged tiger with a thorn in his paw this past couple of weeks. His behavior around the expulsion of Dr Eva was unacceptable and the subsequent press conference showed the “special one” in defiant mood. “An awkward, incoherent and petulant performance,” said the Independent.
- John Terry. How often JT is at the root of the story. Substituted for the first time under Mourinho, Terry looked decidedly unhappy and the post-match comments would have done little to reassure JT that he has a future at the club. He shouldn’t complain too much, but Graeme Souness may have caught it when he said that Mourinho was making a statement over the need for more players. The last time he played roulette with the boss, he lost.
- Back in 2007, Mourinho was keen to add a quality central defender to his squad, but the club seemed to be forcing Alex on him. There was tension behind the scenes. There seems to be similar tension building over the signing of John Stones.
- Siege mentality? Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat at Manchester City was one of the worst defensive displays by a Mourinho XI. City look stronger, although Mourinho said Chelsea were the better side in the second half. Chelsea look jaded.
- Itchy feet. Look at Mourinho’s track record: Porto 2 seasons; Chelsea 3; Inter 2; Real Madrid 3. He’s in his third season at Chelsea revisited. His jobs – and moods – are cyclical. And Pep Guardiola is shipping out of Munich next summer. As one former Premier manager said: “He always has problems after a few years at a club.”
Of course, this could all be nonsense, but Mourinho is not a man who can contemplate failure. It’s very early days, but already Chelsea don’t look like champions. In fact, it’s the worst Chelsea start for years and also the worst for Mourinho since he first came to England in 2004. In 12 seasons, his teams have had a 100% record six times and have won four points from six in another three. The last time just one point was won was in 2012-13 – his final, difficult year with Real Madrid.