By Sam Noel | The Duquesne Duke
The grim reaper has finally come for Jose Mourinho. Chelsea Football Club sacked the self-proclaimed “Special One” today, and although many did not foresee it coming due to his recent and history of success with the club, it was certainly time to go.
Mourinho masterminded his Chelsea side to an unstoppable Premier League title last season, but his ride to the top of English soccer has taken the sharpest of all turns. His now former club find themselves in 16th place with 15 points, one point above the relegation zone. The champions have gone from supreme rulers to relegation battlers in just seven months.
So what went wrong for the Portuguese manager? On top of the nine losses in the BPL this season, here are a few specific reasons for the manager’s downfall:
Complete disconnection with his players.
It’s pretty clear that Mourinho had lost his locker room, evidenced by some of the players’ behavior on the field. In their last match with surprise league leaders, Leicester City, Eden Hazard suffered an injury, and instead of, asking for Mourinho to sub him out, the Belgian star winger instead walked off the field and headed straight for the locker room without acknowledging his manager.
Before that, star striker Diego Costa showed an act of defiance himself, as during Chelsea’s 0-0 draw with Tottenham Hotspur, the Spaniard was neither in the starting lineup nor subbed into the match. His displeasure at Mourinho’s decision to not involve him in a big match prompted him to throw his pinny towards his manager as he sat back down on the bench.
His mishandling of his players was surely the biggest downfall for the Portuguese manager.
The players, themselves.
Despite Mourinho’s disconnection with his locker room, it’s still the players’ responsibility to go out on the field and perform, despite their animosities towards their leader.
Eden Hazard’s total disrespect towards Mourinho in walking off the field was absolutely the wrong decision, and it showed a great deal of immaturity. Likewise, Costa’s rebellious pinny throw was childlike. Your manager is your guide, your leader, the one who is responsible for your success. You don’t throw something at your manager just because you don’t agree with him.
Mourinho said after his most recent and final Premier League loss to newly promoted AFC Bournemouth led him to proclaim that he felt “betrayed” by his players. Whether you like him or not, this is a very sad situation at Chelsea.
His handling of Eva Carneiro.
This is indeed the most peculiar reason of the bunch. As you may know, Mourinho and his former head of the medical staff, Eva Carneiro, had a bit of a falling out, you could say. The Chelsea manager criticized Carneiro for running on to the field to treat Eden Hazard during the team’s opening day draw with Swansea City. Carneiro has since left the club and filed a lawsuit for mistreatment.
A case like this is never the kind of press a manager wants, especially when his club isn’t performing well. This distraction, although seemingly minor, still played a big role in Mourinho’s sacking as it drew some of his focus away from managing.
Roman Abramovich and the Chelsea’s board’s lack of patience.
If you don’t know much about Chelsea’s history, here’s a short lesson: Russian oil tycoon Roman Abramovich purchased the club in August of 2003, and has since injected his wealth into the club, no doubt a big reason for their success in the past decade.
Despite the Russian’s large amount of wealth, he has almost little to no patience. In the past eight years, there have been nine total managers for Chelsea. First of these, it was Jose Mourinho in his first spell with the club, who left on his own power in 2007. After that, big name mangers like Luis Felipe Scolari, Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti, and Rafa Benitez were all sacked due to lack of success and patience from Abramovich and the Chelsea board.
Mourinho’s firing came as no surprise due to their history of impatience.
He may be a tactical mastermind, but he is an arrogant one at that. According to the BBC, in 2004, when he first joined Chelsea, Mourinho famously said, “Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m a European champion, and I think I’m a special one.” This led to the dubbing of the “Special One” moniker, the ultimate symbol of arrogance.
On top of this famous press conference, there was also his famous rivalry with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. In 2014, Mourinho called out his London counterpart, citing Wenger’s lack of silverware since 2005. “He’s a specialist in failure,” Mourinho said according to the BBC. “If I do that in Chelsea, eight years, I leave and don’t come back.” Yeah, he wasn’t full of himself at all. Wenger went on to, in fact, win the FA Cup that season, despite Mourinho’s jab.