If reports in England are to be believed, Chelsea is preparing to offload Jose Mourinho barely five months after the Portuguese coach led the club to a domestic league and cup double. In fact, the only question, according to Eurosport’s Dan Levene, is when his departure will be announced: if Chelsea loses at home to Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League on Wednesday, he could be officially let go that day. Otherwise, Levene says the club will wait -- as Liverpool did in firing Brendan Rodgers last month -- until the next international break, which begins after Sunday’s Premier League game at Stoke City.
Then again, maybe not, because Levene’s report appeared before the news arrived Monday that the Premier League has just handed Mourinho a one-game stadium ban and a fine of $61,700 for his behavior towards referee John Moss during halftime of Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat to West Ham on Oct 24. In other words, Mourinho will miss his final Premier League game with Chelsea, anyways, unless he contests the punishment. Of course, if indeed Chelsea is intent on letting him go, Mourinho might not choose to contest the charge.
Of course, there are many good reasons why he might decide that despite all the prior Chelsea legacy talk, it might be time to cut his losses and get the hell out of London. For starters, the reigning Premier League champ is in 15th place, 14 points behind leader Manchester City, having lost six of its first 11 games already. But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg.
As you’ll recall, Mourinho’s behavior has also been a problem this season, and it’s coming back to haunt him. In addition to Monday’s fine and the suspended one-game ban and $77,000 fine Mourinho received for comments following a 3-1 loss at home to Southampton on Oct. 3, the coach and his club both found out Monday they are being sued by former first-team doctor Eva Carneiro, whom Mourinho reprimanded publicly and then banned subsequently for treating Eden Hazard during the 2-2 draw at home to Swansea on the opening day of the season. Carneiro, of course, was simply doing what the referee asked her to do, yet Mourinho went ballistic. While specific details of the suit have not yet emerged, it was confirmed that Carneiro is suing him personally.
On the face of it, you might think: Sure, the results and the acting out are both bad, but shouldn’t Chelsea put up with it considering his record and the fact that he just delivered two trophies last season?’
Not a chance.
It would be one thing if Chelsea was simply going through a bad run or a loss of confidence, but Mourinho, at this point, has utterly and completely lost the confidence, connection, trust—whatever you want to call it— of his players and therefore, he has to go. Case in point: Garry Richardson of BBC Live Radio 5 reporting Sunday that the coach’s relationship with many of his players -- particularly Hazard -- is at “rock bottom,” with one even saying, “I’d rather lose than win for him.”
How did it come to this? Maybe it was publicly criticizing Carneiro, or benching captain John Terry, or embarrassing midfield engine Nemanja Matic while standing by under-performing players like Branislav Ivanovic and Cesc Fabregas. Who knows? In the end, though, it doesn’t matter how the crisis came about. The fact is that it’s happening and something needs to be done quickly to stabilize the club.
Once a coach loses the confidence of one or two key players, there is only one way that results are going to go, as a bad locker room environment festers and gets worse. It doesn’t matter who’s right and who’s wrong, the fact is, the coach is one and the players are many, and they are the ones who do the work on the field. If they feel he is the problem, then no coach -- not even Mourinho -- can survive that.
For Off The Post and other Blues fans worldwide, the offloading of Mourinho should come as a relief, because really, results can only improve from here -- that’s how bad the performances have been. It will also be nice to no longer feel compelled to defend the yelling, screaming, snarling and conspiracy-conjuring of the little Portuguese man who could easily stake a legitimate claim to the title of World’s Sorest Loser.
That being said, OTP hopes it is a clean break, and that Mourinho will move on, as he does, to the next logical destination in his quest for short-lived world domination: likely Paris St. Germain.
And don’t be surprised if he delivers the Champions League to Paris, either -- just don’t expect him to last longer than three seasons.