Friday, December 08, 2006

Why Mourinho is right to lay down the law to Abramovich...

IT appears all is not well at Stamford Bridge, as yesterday we saw stories appearing in the British press reportedly coming from Shevchenko's camp hinting at a probable return to AC Milan.

As ever there's two sides to this story, from the perspective of Shevchenko, he is one of the world's top strikers, of that there's no argument, but there's no guarantees about selection at a club like Chelsea and so due to a lack of form, the Ukrainian striker has found himself more often than not of late on the bench. Prior to Shevchenko signing there was suggestions that he'd be happy to play his part in Mourinho's system - but it hasn't worked - and the truth is he was never going to put up with being on the bench for too long, at his age and with his experience you can understand it too.

Today Mourinho has said that if he wants to, Abramovich can sack him, because he's got enough money to do that. Clearly this smacks of internal meddling in team selection from the Oligarch - why else would Jose Mourinho mention the club owner when talking of team affairs if it wasn't part of the equation?

Further to this of late there's been suggestions in the media that both Ballack and Schevchenko were 'forced' onto the Portuguese manager, but that is media spin, what manager in the world would turn down the chance to have those two in his squad? The answer to that is possibly Mourinho - because with him, all that matters is winning and following his tactics - failure to do either isn't recommended. The message to those who don't carry out his orders leads to the exit door.

IF the two high-profile signings were indeed forced upon Mourinho, then you can bet Jose told his employers that he'd accept no further conditions and that both would be treated the same as every other squad member and quite right too.

The thing is while Chelsea have been winning this season, the two new boys haven't had the impact many expected, the fact is Essien has by far been the blues best player thus far. However, due to the new arrivals and injuries Mourinho has had to alter his system, often playing with either one winger or none, this has left his side unbalanced and lacking all important width. It is also true to say that in part Jose has been trying to get the best from the two new boys by fiddling with something that wasn't broken.

Mourinho is 100% right to tell Abramovich to back-off - after all there is only one 'special one'. I seriously doubt despite his wealth the Oligarch is daft enough to sack Mourinho - but should Manchester United claw back the title and the blues fail in the Champions League, then it will be very interesting to see the fall-out.

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