Sometimes you have to go back to the basics.
That’s exactly what Mourinho is doing at the moment with Chelsea. He’s starting all over again. Explaining the things that used to be second nature to his word class squad. Where they should position themselves when they don’t have the ball, and the shape they should take when they regain possession.
When your team is off balance you can’t get away with leaving your attackers up field, and at this moment, it seems Chelsea will be hurt every time they give any space away.
This weekend against Tottenham you could see how Pedro and William were doing way more back-tracking than usual. They were also taken off at the end of the game, replaced by Kennedy and Loftus-Cheek to make sure Chelsea wouldn’t lose that balance and to waste some time. It also gave a clear signal that Mourinho was happy with a point on the back of Tottenham’s good form and the difficult period Chelsea are facing.
In the past, most of Mourinho’s teams have had the speed to counter attack with a great number 10, and the ability to sit deep when they haven’t. Most teams sit deep themselves when they play against Chelsea, which means there’s not much space for Chelsea to attack, allowing the opponent to counter attack. When that happens, or if Chelsea are chasing the game, they get too focussed on trying to score and leave themselves exposed at the back.
Mourinho is also trying to shake his predictability – leaving out Costa at the weekend. I’m sure we all saw Costa’s reaction to that decision, but he’s not helping himself. With the current climate at Chelsea players are better off keeping their head down and working hard so they don’t become the example for the team.
The coaches don’t care how big your transfer fee or wages are, if they think it’s better for the team’s dynamic to let you sit on the bench, they will do it. If he goes up against a top coach there will only be one winner, and trust me, it won’t be Costa.
Mourinho’s game is not always about the most attractive football, but always on the result. So at this point it’s even more important to get the job done.
When the boys get the basics back I’m sure we will see some great moments at Stamford Bridge, but for now we can take positives from seeing Hazard get back to his best, and with William who has been amazing.