Monday 18 December 2017 / 04:07 PM

Mourinho on the brink as puzzling form persists

I’ve kind of run out of things to say about Chelsea.

But they keep losing, and given that they’re the league leaders, this is BIG news.

The truth is that I really don’t get it.

Okay, so they had a bit of a rubbish preseason. It wasn’t long enough and that has probably affected some players’ form.

Okay, so Mourinho hasn’t helped. He’s behaved badly from the word go; and rather than his siege mentality pulling focus away from his team’s poor form, it’s just shone the spotlight more keenly on a truly catastrophic start to the season.

Okay, so some of the key players just aren’t delivering.

But the reality is that none of these factors can explain Chelsea’s abysmal start.

 

They really can’t.

Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma couldn’t proffer an explanation following the club’s latest loss, only suggesting that “maybe it is a mental problem”.

Mourinho can’t explain it. Terry can’t explain it. I can’t explain it.

The last time a title-winning side started a season even close to this badly was when David Moyes took the reins at United.

The Red Devils were dire that year, going from finishing first in 2013, with an 11-point cushion, to finishing seventh in 2014 and missing out on Champions League football altogether.

But – and here’s the big difference – there WAS an explanation.

Ferguson had retired, and they’d replaced him with a manager that possessed less than 50 percent of his talent. That manager also made some grave early errors in dispensing with Ferguson’s title-winning backroom team and engaging in foolish chases for players who would never have gone to Old Trafford.

In short, the reason for United’s annus horribilis was David Moyes, and even if you don’t rate him, the fact that Louis van Gaal has at least turned United back into a top-four team indicates that the problem was Moyes.

But what’s the problem at Chelsea?  Mourinho is certainly not helping, but at the same time, we know for a fact that he is one of the best managers in the world. The players clearly aren’t at peak performance, but can that account for the the Premier League holders languishing in 16th?

Word on the street is that Mourinho is now on the brink, and to be honest, even his biggest fan couldn’t blame the club if the Portuguese was let go if things don’t improve very quickly. Things need to change, and fast – but without an understanding of what’s wrong, a problem is very difficult to fix.

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Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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