Filed: Friday, 31st January 2014
By: Paul Walker
There cannot be many bigger hypocrites around in football than the ego-maniac manager of Chelsea, Jose Mourinho.
When he launches such a tirade of abuse at West Ham after Wednesday’s remarkable 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge, he forgets that people have long memories.
This is the man who admitted he sent out his Porto side in 2003 to dive against Celtic to win the UEFA Cup Final in in Seville. This was the same man who constantly defended the outrageous diving antics of Didier Drogba.
This is the man who poked rival coach Tito Vilanova in the eye, and unashamedly sent out Real Madrid to kick lumps out of Barcelona. The excuse being that ‘Barcelona are the best team in the world.’ So that’s OK, then.
This is the man who almost invented the ’park the bus‘ expression. Accusing Spurs of doing it one minute, the calling Arsenal boring when they could not break down Chelsea’s mass defence in a goalless draw at the Emirates a few years back.
And then there’s Samuel Eto’o who got away with kicking the ball out of the Cardiff goalkeeper’s hands earlier this season. And on Wednesday attempted that shocking piece of cheating to try to con referee Neil Swarbrick in the final seconds when Adrian placed the ball for a free-kick, after being kicked in the face as he dived to make a save.
Weaker referees, maybe those at Old Trafford in Fergie’s days, might have caved in and awarded that goal. Thankfully Swarbrick, hounded all night by mass Chelsea protests--I thought that had been outlawed by the FA--didn’t cave in.
The way the Premier League has developed over the recent years, with a moneyed elite dominating more and more, the only chance of getting anything against the big, rich, clubs is to defend in depth. If you think otherwise, you are deluding yourself. I recall Ian Holloway’s Blackpool trying something of the kind, and look where they are now.
They got plenty of praise for their approach. But then that is what the likes of Arsene Wenger and Mourinho want. I can recall Wenger bitterly complaining about teams defending in numbers against Arsenal, so it’s not just Jose talking out of his backside.
There is an alarming gap these days in the top flight, which is only going to be made worse by financial fair play restrictions on clubs like ourselves trying to better ourselves, As James Collins said: “Did Jose expect us to attack Chelsea from the start?”
I would prefer my team to play a nice, expansive, passing game. But I realistically know that is not possible against the super-rich clubs who can buy the world’s best attacking players. Open up against them and you get murdered.
Now Big Sam needs no second invitation to send out his teams to play like West Ham did on Wednesday. He just loves getting one over on the big boys. Wenger, Rafa Benitez and plenty more fell foul of Sam in the bad old days at Bolton.
I must admit I loved the post-match interviews when he said he “didn‘t give a s…t what Jose says,” and the almost boyish delight of “He can’t take it, he can’t take it.”
But what else can be expected from him now West Ham are in this relegation hole. It may be the point that keeps us up, but with the Irons being eight points worse off at this stage compared to last term, I still have my doubts.
But Mourinho has used such tactics himself, and then played the ’we are poor’ card. I can recall the shuddering manipulation of Inter Milan matches against Barcelona, particularly in the 2010 Champions League group stages and semi-finals. And the tactics used to beat Bayern Munich in the final were pretty damned awful.
And Chelsea, admittedly under Roberto Di Matteo, were outrageously defensive in the 2012 Champions League semi-finals against Barcelona, and similar in their final win over Bayern Munich, achieved by playing for penalties in the way the disgraceful Steaua Bucharest did in 1986 to beat Terry Venables’ Barcelona in the final in Seville. I can only assume that Chelsea’s whinging fans were more than happy with their team after that little lot?
So let’s not get to holier than thou about all this. Needs must for teams in different circumstances, and by hell do we need to stop conceding goals at the moment. At this point I can only underline the magnificent performances of Collins, James Tomkins, Matt Taylor and Mark Noble, in particular, at the Bridge. Adrian’s growing reputation was enhanced even further, some of his saves were world class.
But for Mourinho to call us cheats and lumber us with the ‘19th century football’ tag, was a disgrace. That could well come back to haunt us as future opponents and referees react to it. He knows that. Let’s hope the are all as even handed as Starbuck was.
And while we are on the subject of cheating. Mourinho was very quiet about the shove from Gary Cahill that sent Joey O’Brien crashing to the ground to dislocate his shoulder and all but end his season. And Branislav Ivanovic slyly managed to help Mo Diame on his way over the advertising hoardings for an injury that meant he had to be replaced.
And I have also already mentioned Eto’o cheating at the end. No problem with any of that, I assume, Jose?
But on Monday we have the spectacle of Chelsea facing Manchester City at the Etihad. Now City have scored goals for fun all season and would be delighted if Chelsea traded attack for attack, like Arsenal, Manchester United and Spurs have already done there this season, Only to end up shipping 16 goals between them.
But I am sure than Jose will have some excuse if he decides to park the bus in Manchester. The football world will be watching that one with interest.
My one issue with Sam now is that I wish we could have produced some of Wednesday’s true grit in the League Cup semi-final first leg at Manchester City, instead of the shambolic 6-0 defeat. If we could have kept the difference down to a couple of goals, the second leg crowd would have been a sell-out and we would have been spared all the stick for that shameful 0-9 aggregate defeat.
This weekend, though, I will be more interested in our own plight juts like the rest of the Irons fans. If we do not produce a winning performance against Swansea on Saturday, then all the blood, sweat and toil on Wednesday will be wasted.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
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