Jose Mourinho has never been the kind of manager to experience pressure. True, he has had to manage astronomical expectations – a la Real Madrid – but there has always been an indication in his mannerisms that the expectations were never beyond him.
Since he came to the international fore with Porto’s barnstorming Champions League success, he has been an force of tactical intelligence bordering on genius – mixed with sharp wit and enigmatic behaviour that drives his counterparts crazy (Yes Arsene, you) and Spurs his colleagues on.
Just hours after a 3-1 defeat at home to Southampton, with which accompanied several unwanted new lows, Mourinho began to show early signs that he is indeed a man under unprecedented pressure. A thoroughly innocuous question by a TV interviewer seemed to ignite Mourinho’s temper which caused him to digress so spectacularly and drop in the issue that many daren’t believe to be one; the security of his job is under threat.
In much the same way that Kevin Keegan exploded in 1996, Mourinho’s mind was tempered and warped by issues on and off the field. Whilst Keegan lost the mind games battle with Sir Alex Ferguson, Mourinho seems to be the catalyst for the beginning of his own wretched downfall.
After the defeat to Manchester City, Mourinho argued a casing point that his Blues were the better side. Such a pointed was swatted away by just about all observers of the match as borderline delusional. Since then, his team have withered under the test of time, as individuals and as an 11 man unit. Diego Costa’s objectives on the pitch now seem to aim toward the welfare of the oppositional defenders, whilst Eden Hazards spark that saw him as the cornerstone for Chelsea’s attacking exploits last season seems well and truly diminished. The only player who looks capable of any threat for the beleaguered blues was Willian – a sumptuous free kick the solitary highlight on a thoroughly miserable night for his team.
It was barely the case that the opposition teams were playing well – simply that Mourinho’s men were playing badly. Newcastle United are in no better position than the blues; in actuality, they are worse, but they more than proved themselves in a game which they could have, and maybe should have, won.
A position like this is something Mourinho has never faced before. He is in completely unchartered territory, and by the looks of things, he is not coping with it well. His self-ignominious comments about being the best manager Chelsea has ever had may have a touch of truth, but it seemed a statement of defiance towards those stirring up the possibility that his job is out of his hands more than one of pride in his work.
There is every possibility Abramavich might sack him. The man is ruthless with management, regardless of who is in the hotseat. Ancelotti, Scolari, Di Matteo can all testify to this. Mourinho knows it too. He will very easily walk into another job if needs be, but he has expressed more than once that Chelsea is where his loyalties lay, even despite his panache for moving from club to club remains in existence, he has no intention of leaving Chelsea.
Abramovich may bide his time with the Special One, but rest assured, if Jose does not turn it around very soon, he will be out of the door imminently.