Thursday afternoon brought about a piece of news that everybody in and around football expected for weeks, the departure from Chelsea of controversial boss Jose Mourinho.
The move had been mooted for the past few weeks, so the news was no real surprise.
Chelsea have gone from champs to chumps this season and slumped from poor result to poor result. Mourinho left the Blues in 16th position in the Premier League table, just a point clear of the relegation zone.
Talented but temperamental
The above title could describe both Mourinho himself and his Chelsea squad. Despite the Blues poor performance this season, the Portuguese boss cannot be written-off. One bad season does not make a bad manager.
The Portuguese boss will go down as one of the best managers in the history of English and European football. However he will also go down as one of the biggest egos, which is not the best quality when in adversity.
A true test of a manager’ personality is when his team hit a bad run and how he turns it around. It seems Mourinho has struggled to turn his team’s fortunes around and it is not the first time in his career.
Chelsea’s squad has not became a bad group of players or team overnight either. From reports there are some serious big egos in that Blues squad. Big egos are fine when the team is winning games and trophies, but when they are struggling players with big egos are the ones who struggle to cope.
To suggest that Chelsea suddenly have a poor team would be churlish and naïve. The Blues quite comfortably won the Premier League title last season, admittedly in a campaign where other teams struggled for any sort of consistency, but still they were without doubt the best team in the league.
Protecting the club
All was obviously not well between Mourinho and his players. Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo confirmed that by telling Chelsea TV: “What happened was not a pre-meditated decision, it was a decision taken to protect the club,”
“While there is huge sentiment for the individual who has done so much for the club, the fact of the matter remains that Chelsea is a club in trouble.
“The results are not good and there obviously seems to be a palpable discord between manager and players. We felt it was time to act. The owner is forced to make what is a very tough decision for the good of the club.”
If Mourinho was any other boss, the decision would have been easy to make. However Mourinho has done so much for the Blues in both his spells in charge.
Chelsea fans will not forget the good times under the Portuguese, but something had to change to save the club from sinking into the relegation zone, which would have seemed impossible at the start of the campaign. Mourinho simply had to leave the club, for Chelsea and his own sake.
The caretaker set to return
Although it has yet to be confirmed by the club themselves, Dutch boss Guus Hiddink seems set for a return to Chelsea. The Dutchman is currently overwhelming favourite to be the next Blues boss at odds of 1/18.
His former employers Football Federation Australia posted a message on its official website somewhat prematurely stating: “Guus Hiddink has taken temporary charge at struggling EPL giant Chelsea after the club announced they’d sacked coach Jose Mourinho overnight following the club’s disastrous run in the English Premier League.”
The post was later taken down, but 69-year-old Hiddink looks like a logical appointment though. He is highly-experienced and enjoyed a successful short-term spell with the club in 2009.
Hiddink may not be a long-term appointment, but is a safe pair of hands to guide the Blues through the current choppy waters. The Dutchman is regarded as a good man-manager and that is exactly what is now needed at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea’s struggles this season have been there for all to see. The Blues were not the same team that were so resolute in defence and clinical in front of goal last season.
The only consistency in the team this season was that they consistently lost games and consistently performed badly. In the end it was not a case of whether Jose Mourinho would be sacked, but when.
However being sacked by Chelsea is unlikely to ruin Mourinho’s career, as he will no doubt spring up at another top European club in the future. Everything will be back to normal service in the future, as Chelsea will get back to winning ways and Mourinho will most likely continue to add to his silverware collection.
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