Chelsea’s victory over Fulham at the weekend was overshadowed by the ongoing absence of last season’s player of the year Juan Mata, in what has been a contentious decision by Jose Mourinho to exclude him from not only the starting 11, but the first team as a whole.
Questions lie over Mourinho’s handling of the World Cup and Champions League winner and the conspiratorial media machine has been churning away for and against the Special One, in an attempt to expose just exactly what his approach to the Spanish midfielder is.
Mourinho is on the receiving end of a fair amount of criticism, and a serious lack of communication between both parties has led to the, ideally temporary, suspension of what could be a very fruitful pairing. But, despite Ruud Gullit’s mutterings that Mata’s exclusion is “something personal” and Jamie Redknapp unable to make sense of it, Mourinho offered little insight into the situation following the game with an elusive commentary on the state of affairs when interviewed by Redknapp.
…the team weren’t playing the style he liked…
He is undoubtedly the greatest ever manager to grace Chelsea’s gates, and while Mata should in no means be offered protection based on his considerable success at the club in the past, I think the need to justify Mata’s handling is one that should be dealt within the club, much to the resentment of fans.
The vague musings of the need for the Spaniard to adapt his play, following Mourinho’s view that the team weren’t playing the style he liked, are seemingly echoed by his assistant Steve Holland. Holland drew parallels with Mourinho’s approach to Ronaldo during his reign at Real Madrid, stating “that comes with pushing, even if it’s the best”.
…Is Mourinho’s strategy of silence going to be effective with a 25 year old in the prime of his footballing career?…
While we are not privy to the conversations taking place behind closed doors, Mourinho’s cryptic behaviour is hardly out of character and his nonconformist approach to player management has never sat comfortably with those in his vicinity. Dare I comment on the tactic of a man who’s successfully managed so many top flight players in his career, but should the complete deterioration of the player-manager relationship be a necessary stepping stone in realising the extent of a player’s potential? Is Mourinho’s strategy of silence going to be effective with a 25 year old in the prime of his footballing career? Well, Holland points out quite fairly that “he’s quite clear in his mind, given the success he’s had, what is his recipe for success”.