Former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has cast doubt on whether Jose Mourinho has the ability to turn Chelsea’s woeful start to the Premier League season around.
Mourinho has overseen just one Premier League win from Chelsea’s first five games of the season, with three defeats leaving the reigning champions 17th in the table.
No side in Premier League history has recovered from a start as bad as Chelsea’s to win the title.
And Lehmann, Arsenal’s 2003-04 title-winning goalkeeper, believes the damage has already been done as Mourinho prepares to host Arsene Wenger’s side on Saturday.
“Now he probably wants to show people that, even with a bad start, he can become a champion, which would be special again,” Lehmann told Omnisport.
“But we will see. I doubt that, because they are already 11 or 12 points behind [Manchester City], so he needs to pull out something really special to get that right again.
“I don’t know whether he is capable of doing that.”
Lehmann also admitted that doubts over his former club’s title chances are creeping in after a mixed start of their own to the season.
Arsenal were beaten 2-1 by Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League on Wednesday, having already opened their Premier League campaign with a defeat to West Ham.
“I hope Arsenal will win the Premiership this year. Watching the game against Dinamo Zagreb, where they have lost again, there is always the same doubt,” he said.
“But the players said that this season is becoming a special season, and something special will happen. I hope that they are right, in a positive way.”
Lehmann backed fellow goalkeeper Petr Cech, who Wenger rested in Zagreb, to become a key player in Arsenal’s campaign, following his move from Chelsea.
The former Germany international said: “Petr is one of the greatest goalkeepers ever, so I think that was a really good purchase by Arsenal.
“You can’t perform in every game, but Petr has the ability to tick every box in terms of goalkeeping. He doesn’t really have weaknesses.
“He perfectly suits Arsenal, and hopefully will be one of the key factors to win something at the end of this season.”