As the media frenzy and increasing pressure surrounding Andre Villas-Boas finally reached its crescendo after Chelsea’s defeat to West Brom, the hunt begins for a new man to take the reigns. With the side struggling to break into the top four, and the expectations of a quick turnaround in fortunes, Felipe Scolari’s description of the managerial role as ‘hell’ is probably a reasonably accurate one. This narrows down the candidates to a pretty short list of experienced, resolute and tactically astute leaders who would even consider signing up to Roman Abramovich’s merry-go-round of managers.
From looking through all of the names being bandied around, there seems to me to be only one that would stand up to the test from the outset. Not only does Jose Mourinho tick all of the competency boxes in terms of coaching and management, he’d make his own box and call it the most important one of all. When managing a club like Chelsea, with high ambitions, money to burn and a need to pull out results against your rivals, only a man of exceptional character and charisma can deal with the pressures bestowed upon him. Mourinho has the aura around him that lets him operate by his own rules and instil confidence in the team as a unit. He is the only person who would be able to hit the ground running by commanding respect and authority right from the first day in charge; anyone else, whether they are young or old, would at some point be heavily questioned as to their approach or policies.
Looking at where Chelsea are now and what they have achieved in the past 10 years, nothing comes close to the period when Jose Mourinho was at he helm during the back-to-back Premier League wins. Not only did he win trophies, he created a team that was of his own breed, they were ruthless and dominant in a way that grew into a confidence that took them to new ambitions.
Teams feared coming to Stamford Bridge because they knew that it was extremely unlikely they would get anything for their troubles, and came to expect nothing less than a performance against a team that resembled a well-oiled machine. The Chelsea squad was physically and mentally strong, coupled with players who knew exactly what they needed to do on the pitch, which seems like a far cry from today.
Whether or not Abramovich would let Mourinho revert to his old style is a different question, but does that really matter? While at the helm at Madrid, the ‘Special One’ has shown that he can embrace a style of football that encompasses a dynamic and fluid approach in all areas. Real have scored 85 goals in the league this season, with an average of 3.4 goals per game. Yes they have Ronaldo, but the goals have come courtesy of at least 15 different players, with attacking midfielders having a huge influence. Di Maria and Ozil lead the assist table in La Liga by 4, with them currently on 13 and 12 respectively. With creativity and goalscoring often being a problem for The Blues recently, Mourinho may also hold the key to unlock Chelsea’s goalscoring potential.
A few weeks ago, many were of the opinion that Villas-Boas deserved at least until the end of the season to get Chelsea on track. As the days passed and the results failed to help his cause, the high-profile nature of the affair meant that it snowballed to a point where AVB was effectively out the door before he could get his coat. Every time Chelsea oust one manager, the replacement has to be seen to been more competent than the last, and they are running out of options. If they want a manager who they can stick by for the next few years, someone who can make the right signings and mould a new team through transition, the only man for the job at this point in time is Jose Mourinho. No-one else has the same authority, respect and knowledge in combination with an enigmatic nonchalance that is necessary to deal with the pressure and take Chelsea to new heights.
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