Tuesday night was one of mixed emotions for everybody associated with Chelsea.
The Blues lost 1-0 to Basel in the Champions League through a late Mohamed Saleh goal, but still managed to qualify for the knockout stages.
However, there are worrying signs that Chelsea are still not consistent enough to challenge for the big trophies.
Jekyll and Hyde
Chelsea are one of the Premier League’s Jekyll and Hyde teams. At the weekend they tore West Ham apart and won 3-0 at the Boleyn Ground.
The Blues showed just what they can do when on song. Yet they go to Switzerland and suffer such a poor defeat.
The Swiss side had already beaten the Blues at Stamford Bridge, but surely Chelsea should be starting to find their form under Mourinho.
The return of the ‘Special one’ has not brought the change in fortunes that most Blues fans would have hoped for. As soon as Mourinho returned to the bridge the Blues were installed as favourites for the Premier League.
Although Chelsea are just four points off league leaders Arsenal in the Premier League they do not seem to have any consistency in their performance. Just when you think Chelsea are going to put a good run of results together they slip-up.
Mourinho has not exactly enjoyed a happy return to Stamford Bridge so far. The Portuguese boss has not really looked happy at all this season, as his team have struggled to put a winning run together.
The Chelsea fans wanted him back, but it seems that a minority are already asking if Mourinho returning was wise. Football fans can be a fickle bunch and Mourinho needs slightly more time, but at the moment Chelsea are struggling to produce what is expected of them.
One of the big gripes that a lot of Chelsea fans have with Mourinho in his second spell is that he is not making use of the clubs Player of the Year Juan Mata. The Spaniard was one of the outstanding players in the Premier League last season.
He was considered the Blues best player. However, Mourinho has favoured Brazilian Oscar in the number ten role this season. The youngster has had a very good start to the season and is developing into a top class player.
Last night’s game would have been the ideal time to rest Oscar though and give Mata a chance to prove his worth against the Swiss side. Mourinho stated that he felt his players were tired after the defeat, yet he still did not use Mata at all, despite the Spaniard having limited playing time this season.
The lack of match action for Mata has become a big issue since Mourinho’s return. The Spaniard may not track back as much as Oscar, but he is still one of the best players at Chelsea. He has to start playing, or he will inevitably leave the club.
Leaving Mata out in the cold has not helped Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge. The Portuguese boss likes to knock people down a peg or two when he initially arrives at a new club. It looks like he has he has got it wrong with Mata though.
Chelsea looked toothless going forward in last night’s game. The Blues got zero shots on target compared to the home sides seven and only had two shots in the whole match. That indicates that something went wrong with Mourinho’s tactics.
In truth Basel could and probably should have won by more. Tiredness is a poor excuse for a manager of a club that arguably has the best squad of players in England. Mourinho could quite literally have changed his whole starting line-up for the game in Switzerland and still had a very competitive team on the pitch.
Chelsea do have the player resources to rotate the squad and not dilute the quality of the team by very much. However, Mourinho should not blame tiredness. It is a petty excuse considering Arsenal has played the same amount of games, with more injuries and a smaller squad might I add.
It seems that Chelsea are still searching for a level of consistency in their performance. They win with a good performance one game, and then just a few days later produce such an inept performance.
Chelsea have to start putting together a decent run of victories, or they could be looking at finishing the season without a trophy, a prospect that I am sure that Mr Mourinho would definitely not relish.
The Blues are still fourth favourites to win the Champions League at odds of 14/1, but their inconsistency this season may just rule them out of the running.
Can Chelsea find enough consistency to be successful this season?