Hard to believe, considering that Jose Mourinho had led his Chelsea side to the summit of the Premier League just two months previous.
Nonetheless, The Times report that the current crisis (a crisis compounded by the debacle at Upton Park today) at the club was precipitated by drama during Chelsea’s pre-season jaunt to the United States.
Concerns in the dressing room reign over his autocratic style and singling out of certain individuals. The root of this came via his side’s first pre-season friendly of last summer in a shock 4-2 defeat by the New York Red Bulls.
In the immediate aftermath of that match in New Jersey, in July, Mourinho initially ignored his team after watching them concede four second-half goals to a side comprised largely of Red Bulls Academy youngsters, but brought the game up during a team talk several weeks later, in which he turned on his players and accused them of losing to a “Mickey Mouse team,” Matt Hughes of The Times writes.
This outburst infuriated several players, as they had moved on from that defeat and did not appreciate being castigated for it long after the event.
It’s claimed that Mourinho’s ‘confrontational style’ has adversely affected some of the younger/foreign players, with the case of Ruben Loftus-Cheek cited:
“Such aggressive treatment may hinder the development of Loftus-Cheek in particular.”
Mourinho’s man-management has been called into question, along with his very public criticisms of his squad. Nemanja Matic was been told that “his passing is not good enough”, while Eden Hazard, Oscar and the aforementioned Ruben Loftus-Cheek “have been ordered to work harder off the ball”.
Is it a co-incidence that all four are either struggling to match last season’s performances or have been relegated to bench-sitting duty? Either way, Mourinho has already left Stamford Bridge once under acrimonious circumstances, and it looks like happening yet again in the near future.