Chelsea: Jose's Genius Matched Liverpool's SAS, Just Wait Until Next Year...
So Jose has finished the second season in a row without a trophy to his name.
He has also become The Semi-Final One. Brilliant name calling there by opposition fans who fail to note that to lose in four semis in a row you firstly have to get there. Which their teams have not.
The last time Arsenal or Manchester United were in a Champions League semi final? City cannot even get out of their group without giving their fans a coronary and Liverpool? Well, that's best explained on the History Channel.
The Real Madrid fans who now mock forget that before Jose, they struggled to get out of their group and seemed to have a rather significant problem getting past Lyon in the knockout stages. Who Jose promptly dispatched. He took them to three semi finals in a row and - yes - failed to get to the final but to even be there or thereabouts was a massive improvement on the side who had been so poor that, despite their record in the competition, had dropped into the second pot of seeds upon Jose's arrival in Madrid.
Back to Chelsea this season and yes some things could've been handled differently, but at the end of the day they have not been good enough and did not have the fire power to break sides down and be consistent enough to win the title.
Note the fact that in the so called biggest games, the ones that came down to tactics and substitutions - the fine margins that only a world class manager can effect - Chelsea won practically all of those games. Why? Because Mourinho made up for what they did not have on the field in the dugout and tactically.
The games where no matter what you do as a manager you cannot break those teams down are the ones in which Chelsea fell. The best laid plans go wrong if the people carrying them out are not up to the task and to put it frankly, Chelsea's 'stars' in attack couldn't quite cut it.
The Blues not only missed the goals of a world-class front man but were left wanting when it came to their midfield as well with Frank Lampard struggling to adapt his game in the way Steven Gerrard has. That is not to criticise Lampard who has been outstanding when called upon but Chelsea should have prepared for this eventuality two seasons ago. That is 50 goals a season Mourinho is missing from his first spell in charge. No Drogba or goals from Lampard equals big problems.
Mourinho is also right to call out certain players. Like it or lump it, he's the manager and it's his way or the highway. Willian has excelled. Hazard has the potential to and most likely will once he realises he is not at the level of Messi yet. Oscar meanwhile has, as Mourinho rightly commented, dropped off alarmingly at the crucial point of the season when Chelsea needed him most. World Cup dreaming is all well and good but the Brazilian would do well to remember who pays his wages.
If neither your forwards or midfielders are performing, you have an issue. The Chelsea defence has been flawless but there is only so much they can do. At times they have even scored, as well (at both ends, unfortunately).
The loss of Petr Cech is another thing that cannot be prepared for and although Mark Schwarzer is a thoroughly nice human being and a decent back-up keeper, to have him appear in a game that goes past the FA Cup fourth round in terms of its importance in the season is not ideal.
This season Chelsea have punched above their weight. Another manager with that squad would not have done better. In fact, smart money would be on them doing far worse. The Blues would've dropped sloppy points, yes, but they would have also lost some of the crunch clashes with their title rivals had Mourinho not been there to win them make no mistake.
Manchester City have four strikers all of whom have played a part this season in their probable title win. Liverpool have Sob and Sturridge, both of whom have been outstanding yet Chelsea under Mourinho have matched them blow for blow.
Yes it has been a trophyless campaign but if this is what Jose can do with effectively zero forwards imagine what he can do with three.