It was just confirmed by the Chelsea Twitter account that they have “parted company with mutual consent” with club legend, Jose Mourinho. In so many ways it’s a frustrating, simply poor decision from the board. Let’s take a look at exactly why it’s such a large mistake.
Chance for Consistency Gone
The largest issue in this whole situation is the chance has now gone for long term consistency.
Chelsea were in a long-term project under Mourinho, they were rebuilding. And if this season isn’t evidence enough, the project was not yet completed.
Last season, Chelsea rose to heights that were above their capacity. Most if not all of the players played above their potential. This lead to heightened expectations, coupled with complacency.
Chelsea needed to strengthen this summer in bulk and instead they completely lost the plot. By standing still, the Blues took massive steps backward in their campaign. And it’s shown itself in waves this season. Last year’s title papered over the cracks of so many frailties in Chelsea’s squad.
Chelsea’s project isn’t completed, it’s not even close. Now, they take more steps in the wrong direction by sacking the “project manager”.
For years, the Premier League was taunted by Manchester United, a club headed by one man for more than 25 years. That will never happen again. Though with Mourinho, there was a chance for more consistency than 2-3 seasons.
By firing Mourinho, it becomes clear that the Chelsea Football Club managerial position is a hotseat that no person can sustain for an extended period of time.
Creates a Culture of Player Dominance (Not the good kind)
Sacking Jose doesn’t just give the wrong impression about the managerial position, but it says the wrong things about Chelsea FC as a whole. It gives the players too much power, too much control and no accountability.
Jose didn’t step onto the pitch this season in a footballing uniform. This means that ultimately, the players have to take the majority of the blame. A manager of Jose’s ilk doesn’t cause that many players to underperform. Say what you want about the dressing room, it almost doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that they are underperforming.
There has often long time rumors of John Terry having a say with the managers that come and go within Chelsea. Many believe that’s how Rafa Benitez left the club. Well Terry certainly had nothing to with this. It seems as his influence on the pitch decreases, so does his influence in club decisions.
It’s the new wave of players that are influencing things at Chelsea. Players like Hazard and Costa.
That culture will not breed winning, not in the long-term. It’s why Chelsea have struggled to be consistent over the last decade and why no team has had long-term sustained success with a player culture like this. Chelsea are in trouble.
The Timing of the Mistake is Poor
Many called for Mourinho’s head earlier on during the season. It’s a new footballing concept where a few poor results lead to an instant lack of respect for the manager, specifically the greatest in the club’s history and last year’s champion.
However, Chelsea Football Club, against all odds, did the right thing by retaining Jose, putting faith in the man that Abramovich wanted from day one. This makes the current situation all the more confusing. What has changed since the initial backing of Jose?
The results haven’t changed in the Premier League, that’s for sure. We still find ourselves at the bottom of the table. However, we also find the club in the Champions League Knockout round.
Furthermore, the market for replacement managers have taken a large hit. Jurgen Klopp, perhaps the one man that could have succeeded Jose Mourinho is now off the market and wearing the Liverpool red.
By waiting to fire Jose, Chelsea made the right decision. However, this would be if they had let him stay for the entirety of the season. Waiting a few months to carry the axe has made the club even more underprepared for life after Mourinho.
Waiting to the summer would have been another conversation entirely. First, we don’t know what success Chelsea may have in the Champions League. Probably none.
However, with the summer coming, there’s a chance to re-evaluate, see the managerial options that come available. There may be a chance to attract managers like Simeone from Atletico. Even someone like Pep Guardiola (though the thought makes me nauseous), would be a better appointment than someone rash, midway through the campaign.
Furthermore, by sacking Mourinho just before the holidays, you allow the new manager no time to prepare for the January transfer window. This was something that Chelsea needed to utilize immensely. Now, this leaves Chelsea spending money with the board’s planning, or no spending at all. The board made the decision to not add players over the summer. They are more to blame than really any party during this campaign. And now, it’ll be their interests guiding Chelsea into January.
Overall, it’s a massive mistake from Chelsea. Somewhere over the summer, they’ve lost the plot, and now they’ve lost their greatest manager. They will be hard pressed to find someone as competent as Mourinho to pick up the pieces of this failed project.