Back in 2007, Jose Mourinho lost his job at Chelsea. Many attributed his release to rumors that owner Roman Abramovich wanted to see the team play more attractive soccer. Fast-forward to 2015, Mourinho is back, and the Blues are on the cusp of winning two of England’s three titles, having already won the League Cup on March 1, and now on an impressive run of three wins and a draw out of four in the Premier League in April.
But the Stamford Bridge club has managed just four goals in its last four Premier League games. During Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Arsenal, the crowd started chanting: “Boring, boring Chelsea.”
Mourinho, of course, strongly rejected that accusation. His response, aimed squarely at those Gunners supporters: "I think boring is 10 years without a title - that's boring. If you support a club and you wait, wait, wait for so many years without a Premier League title, then that's boring.” He continued: "This boring team has got the second highest number of goals, has the best goal difference. Only Manchester City have scored more goals than us."
On Tuesday, Mourinho was asked if Abramovich was now happy with the way his team was playing. "Roman is very happy," he replied. "I saw him hugging the players in the dressing room after the game. He can be in Russia and live the game the same way [that] he lives it in a box at Stamford Bridge but, yes, I think he's happy and I think every Chelsea fan is happy if we win the title. If we win the title, we have a fantastic Premier League with everything."
Asked if his team represented the beautiful game, he continued: “For me, the beautiful game is to go to every game and know exactly the way you have to play and what you have to do. Against Arsenalm we were brilliant.”
“Brilliant” might be over-doing it, but during its 1-0 win against Manchester United and the 0-0 draw at Arsenal, if nothing else, Chelsea certainly looked unbothered. Though the Blues were out-shot on both occasions, there were precious few dangerous chances for either opponent. The end result is hard to argue with: Chelsea is 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League table and could clinch the title as early as Sunday’s visit of Crystal Palace.
"But tell me in the Premier League who plays better than us? No one? So tell that [to the public],” Mourinho declared. "Do you think there is in the Premier League one manager who will say that Chelsea don't deserve to be champions? I think, out of 19 managers, a huge percentage will say Chelsea deserve to win the league."
Indeed, Jose: Chelsea absolutely deserves to win the league. But is Abramovich really happy? Obviously, it’s great to win silverware, but the manner in which it’s done is important, too, especially if you want to keep the fan base happy and enlist new fans each season. This is a business, after all. Now that Mourinho has brought silverware back to Stamford Bridge, the question is whether Abramovich will continue to be happy with his defensive, tactical performances, or will he revert to his original thinking in 2007, which is that he wants to see Chelsea play more expansive, attacking soccer? If there's one more season like this one, will we see history repeat itself?