After yesterdays magnificent win, Mourinho was asked if the Premier League title was a “three horse race” his reply was “Two horses and a little horse that still needs milk and to learn how to jump. A horse that next season can race” It’s a surprising answer from him in the sense that Chelsea having just beat the current favourites for the title, on their own pitch whilst being the first team since November 2010 to stop them from scoring at home are just two points behind the leaders Arsenal. Many would have expected Mourinho to be talking up Chelsea’s chances rather than playing them down.
I can’t help but feel that he’s playing another long-winded game, one which puts pressure on both Arsenal and Manchester City. By telling everyone that those two should be the ones chasing the title it gives Chelsea a free ride, a safety net for Mourinho and his players. Imagine Wenger or Pellegrini saying “Next year we will challenge” it would not go down well with fans. So why can Mourinho get away with it? because he’s special. Chelsea and fans alike know what success he is capable of bringing, but this time it’s different, he doesn’t have to rush.
This statement allows Mourinho the time he wants, to go about his job with a free license, to make this season a ‘win win’. If Chelsea were to fall short “who cares” he could say, “next year is our year” he did tell everyone that after all. There would be many positives to take out of this campaign with last nights win being the main one. If Chelsea were to go on and win the title, well, Mourinho would look like a genius once again with his project ahead of schedule. But one thing that perhaps doesn’t sit right with a lot of people is why (if he is telling the truth after all and genuinely believes it) can’t Chelsea challenge this year?
It would appear that Chelsea have the right blend of youth and experience. Cech, Terry, Lampard, Eto’o and Cole are all experienced players and most importantly, winners. Between them they’ve won a staggering amount of trophies. Oscar , Hazard amongst others are relatively young but have all played big matches and are maturing rapidly, Hazard especially. The average age of Chelsea’s team last night was 27, its a peak average, so what exactly is Mourinho waiting for?
If I were to guess what his main concern was it would have to be discipline and concentration. There have been games this season where the team have lacked intensity and looked sloppy. However, last nights performance showed concentration and intensity from start to finish and I’m sure Mourinho will use this win as a model for success as well as to maintain these performances for the rest of the season and beyond. The development of Hazard as a winger who helps out his full-back is an example of how much Mouinho has improved individuals as well as the team in a short period of time.
If Chelsea were to have a world class striker leading the line I’m sure Mourinho’s horse wouldn’t need so much milk.