Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Mourinho shows lack of grace after losing, no surprise is it?

Contrary to the views expressed after the game by Jose Mourinho, Chelsea were not the best team at Anfield last night as Liverpool won 4-1 on penalties. The fact is Chelsea blew it last week at Stamford Bridge when they were by far the better team.

Last night Kuyt wrongly had a good goal disallowed and having matched the visitors all over the park, the Anfield Red's deserved to win the game. Not only that Reina proved that based on that performance he's better at saving penalties than Cech. The Chelsea keeper didn't get close to making a shut-out, while Reina was superb, he was on his toes for every penalty. Cech is the bigger keeper out of the two and there's no doubting he's class, but in that shoot-out, Cech looked wooden when compared to the agile Spaniard.

In my opinion Benitez has got under the skin of Mourinho, the Spaniard seems to know how to stifle Chelsea, especially in cup games. Take last night Joe Cole and Frank Lampard weren't in the game much in an attacking sense. But it was that sort of game, it was more about not losing than taking chances and attacking. Mourinho has his faults and one of them is the purists like me will argue that he is at times over cautious. Why didn't Mourinho bring on Boulahrouz and push Essien forward in place of Mikel? Essien did make one late powerful run forward when supplying substitute Wright-Phillips with a great ball which should have led to Drogba scoring, but the Ivory Coast man didn't connect properly. Jose Mourinho has made many crucial in game tactical changes but last night wasn't his finest hour.

We all can recognise Mourinho's fantastic record, only a fool would question what he's achieved. But Jose doesn't do cavalier football, it isn't and never has been his way, and in Benitez he's met his match when it comes to knowing how not to lose games. Both Mourinho and Benitez know how to play defensive football, the Spaniard built his reputation on it with Valencia, so in that respect and especially in the cup games Chelsea have met their match in Benitez's Liverpool.

Mourinho might recall his Porto knocking out United a few seasons back. Now United really did not get the rub of the green that day, Scholes had a perfectly good goal disallowed and unlike Liverpool we lost on the night. What goes around comes around eventually.

I doubt Chelsea will collapse but Sunday's game with Arsenal is going to be very interesting.

Next up though the Red Devils take on Milan in a game that is guaranteed to have many more highlights that we saw at Anfield, because United don't do dour football. Hang on the seat of your pants...

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