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Darren Lewis: Why Chelsea should stick with Mourinho

29 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Darren Lewis: Why Chelsea should stick with Mourinho

The Mirror sports writer says the Blues need to continue holding their nerve and stand by their man - even if they lose to Liverpool on Saturday

His critics can’t wait, his rivals are circling and Arsene Wenger will probably get himself some popcorn.

Because Saturday lunchtime is now do or die for Jose Mourinho.

Having rubbed so many people up the wrong way over the years there will be no sympathy whatsoever for the Special One should he suffer a defeat at home to Liverpool that would almost certainly spell the end for him in West London.

It is blindingly obvious that referees in particular would love it.

Jon Moss took no prisoners at West Ham last Saturday, carding any Chelsea players that questioned his move to send off Nemanja Matic, ordering Mourinho’s assistant, Silvino Louro to the stands and topping that all off by dismissing the Special One after their confrontation at half time.

Yet another FA charge followed on Monday evening, as expected, and the Chelsea boss who has used referees as a punchbag over the last couple of years appears to be on the wrong end of an unofficial fightback.

Had he justifiably questioned on Tuesday night at Stoke why Diego Costa – who came off and had to go to hospital – appeared to have been struck by Charlie Adam, Mourinho would have been accused yet again of challenging authority and dragging the Chelsea name even further through the mud.

So he is sucking it up. All of it.Diego CostaThe bookies are now offering odds of 11-10 that the Special One will be the next manager to leave his post.

But then the bookies would probably offer odds on the length of time it would take you to read this piece.

Two things are clear, though.

The first is that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is giving the Portuguese far more leeway than he would any other manager in the 52-year-old’s position.

The second is that Chelsea need to continue holding their nerve and stand by their man.

Wenger has had the gallows built for him during the early months of more seasons than he can remember during his two decades at Arsenal.

Most notably in 2011 when three defeats from his opening five games included a 2-0 surrender at Liverpool, that 8-2 demolition at Manchester United and a 4-3 upset at Blackburn.

At the time it looked as though the end was nigh.

As ever, the Gunners recovered to finish in the top four.

Likewise, last season after the Gunners picked up just two wins from their first eight games.

The run was one of the worst in the Wenger era. Again the Frenchman, the Premier League’s Teflon Don, steered the ship back towards Champions League safety.

It can be done. Especially in this most open of seasons, a campaign in which the Premier League summit looks like a game of Snakes and Ladders.

Manchester City are without their chief marksman Sergio Aguero.

Arsenal have lost Theo Walcott to injury.

Manchester United have Wayne Rooney in decline and Anthony Martial needing time to realise his towering potential.

And while West Ham are holding their own by right in third place, a slot in the top four remains very much up for grabs.

In fact, with Chelsea 11 points off the lead in October and 28 games still to play even the title is not yet a fantasy for the West Londoners – despite the stats revealing it has never before been done in the Premier League era.

Mourinho and Chelsea just need to weather this particular storm.

It is entirely true to say that the Blues boss hasn’t made things easy for himself with his clumsy, graceless handling of the Eva Carneiro situation.

This writer believes, however, he is entirely right to fight for what he believes in after he moved to highlight the inconsistencies in the FA’s disciplinary process.

Now you get the sense that Mourinho just cannot win. If he keeps his nose clean, remains in his dugout and gives the officials a wide berth as he did at Stoke, he is subdued.Chelsea-StokeIf he calls it on, contests decisions and shows any sign of his trademark belligerence, he is cracking up.

Had he laid into Adam over the Costa flashpoint during the match or in his post-match press conference, he’d have been accused of clutching at straws, trying yet again to deflect the blame from his own failings.

When he decided against it (“Diego Costa punched himself!”), Mourinho was seen as being resigned to his fate, unable even to muster the fight to complain.

Everybody knows that the stats he is battling against would have seen most other managers sacked by now.

The Capital One Cup defeat at Stoke was Chelsea’s seventh this season (forget the pre-season training exercise that is the Community Shield).

The Blues’ hierarchy won’t lose too much sleep over relinquishing their hold on the most minor of English football’s domestic trophies, however.

It is in the wider context that the crisis is worsening.

Mourinho has won just one of his last seven in all competitions – and that was against an Aston Villa side managed by Tim Sherwood for whom the Midlands job proved too big.

His side sit 15th, his No. 1 goalkeeper is out until December, his first choice right-back is out of form, his Double Player of the Year even more so.

And the Special One continues to battle against the widely-held perception among ex-pros within the game that he has lost the dressing room.

It is all the more important then that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich should stick rather than twist.

It is a myth to suggest that the club’s fans want Mourinho out.

From the defiance being belted out by the travelling fans at the Britannia Stadium on Tuesday night that certainly didn’t seem the case.

Nor is it the view of most fans who watch the club on a weekly basis. They know that they have the right man in charge.

Chelsea fans remain convinced that there is one rule for Mourinho and another for the likes of Arsene Wenger. They have no issue whatsoever with the Special One standing his ground.

They don’t want the upheaval and the prospect of Mourinho going somewhere else to get his stellar career back on track.

Of course Abramovich is right to consider his options. Of course he is right to contemplate paying off the Portuguese, ripping it all up and starting again.

Ancelotti would indeed be a safe bet. He knows the club, he knows the league, he has delivered for Chelsea before, he is first class at handling big players and his cv is up there alongside Mourinho’s.

Abramovich, however, would be trading like for like. Not necessarily upgrading.

Because it is rubbish to suggest Mourinho is a busted flush. The truth is that no manager, regardless of their CV, is immune to the wretched slump in form from which the champions are suffering.

Mourinho laid it on the line for Abramovich after the defeat to Southampton earlier this month. The Russian already has the best option available to him at the club.

So even if they were to suffer a sixth defeat in 11 Premier League games on Saturday, Chelsea should still stick with the Special One.

If anyone should be sacrificed it is the thirty-something underachievers no longer able to reproduce the displays that made them legends at Stamford Bridge.

John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic have been outstanding for Chelsea over the years.ChelseaNeither, however, look likely to get new contracts as things stand. It would be some departure for the club to cut its ties with Terry in particular.

Yet in starting their rebuild with the players rather than the manager it would send a message out that the power at Stamford Bridge is with the manager rather than the Blues’ dressing room.

It would also tell the wider public that Chelsea are no longer an outfit swamped by short-termism.

Let’s not kid ourselves. It is clearly not just poor form that the Champions are wading through.

There is disquiet behind the scenes. It is well known that several players are unhappy at the Special One for singling them out for the hairdryer treatment in front of their colleagues.

It is also understood that Mourinho has had rows with both John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic since the start of the season.

All parties have moved on since but clearly all of the issues behind the scenes are having an impact on the pitch.

Chelsea sources continue to insist the club intend to do all it can to back Mourinho. Quite right, too.

It isn’t the Special One’s fault that Petr Cech is helping Arsenal into title contention.

The Chelsea boss implored Abramovich not to sanction the 33-year-old keeper’s move across the capital.

Instead the Blues’ legend is breathing life into the Gunners Premier League and Champions League prospects. He is bringing security to a position that had previously been their weakest link.

Meanwhile in West London, Costa admits coming back to pre-season training from his summer holidays overweight.

Eden Hazard is a shadow of the superstar that carried all before him last season.

Falcao has been an unmitigated disaster.

Nemanja Matic has lost his way and Cesc Fabregas has been keeping his head down when the really big players would have actually stood up to be counted.

As manager, Mourinho is the man who carries the can. Although the spectre of Ancelotti looms large, however, Abramovich should resist the temptation to give in to the blood lust for Mourinho’s head.

Sack him and the Russian would be giving the players carte blanche to continue with the kind of complacency that has put Chelsea in this position in the first place.

Empower Mourinho, make it clear that he will remain no matter what, and a quite remarkable resurgence could yet be on the cards.

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READ: Avoiding defeat at home to Liverpool should keep Mourinho at Chelsea – for now