Both Lampard and Mourinho have talked about troubles within the Chelsea camp, pointing to their performance at the Emirates as an indicator of how Chelsea should be playing.
“There have been problems at the club and they have to be addressed, simple as that.
There are things we have been battling against and we have to put them right. We cannot allow certain people to lose us the spirit that has got us to where we are.
You will understand what I mean when you look at how we played at Arsenal, with 11 players all fighting to win the game.”
The full interview is here, and the funny bit is that Lampard hasn’t said anything about fellow Chelsea players. He’s only mentioned the club, which could easily mean the tussle between Mourinho and the board.
It’s Mourinho’s remarks which are more interesting:
“This was a game for people that want to succeed with this Chelsea.
I mean Mr Abramovich’s Chelsea, because he is the owner, but also the Chelsea of the dressing room and the human and professional relationships.
If someone wants to succeed in this dressing room they have to watch this game and understand why some people have success and others have no success.
It is obvious. You can go to any club and analyse player by player the contribution they gave in the season.”
[Source: Sky Sports]
Here’s what I see:
Mourinho, Terry and Lampard are very close, and these three are the key to Chelsea’s success in the next few seasons. Drogba may get the goals, Essien is the energizer bunny, Carvalho is fantastic in defence and Cech is world class, but it’s those 3 that are Chelsea’s heart and soul.
Mourinho’s pointing at non-performing players (Shevchenko, Boulahrouz and Robben would be my picks – Ballack is probably in that list as well but he’s done well this season) and also at the club owner is his challenge to the management (and he’s going to get more explicit in the future about this) for letting him do things his way.
It makes sense – yes, there has to be some control but ultimately it’s the manager’s job to create a team. Ferguson has been given that chance several times and he’s come up trumps each time. Wenger has the same chance now and he’s getting there. Benitez has done well in the CL precisely because he gets his way (although he has been limited by a lack of funds).
For Chelsea to sustain their advantage, it must be the same for Jose Mourinho as well. Let him create his own team. He has a few players he wants to sell and undoubtedly several players that he wants to bring in. Let him do that – with the team Chelsea have Champions League qualification is guaranteed and so is progression to the second round (minimum) as well as good progress in the domestic cups.
It could be that in their desire to achieve success, the Chelsea top brass haven’t allowed Jose Mourinho enough leeway to get them there.
That has to change – to keep the Chelsea family happy and to improve the team.
Eventually – it’s Abramovich’s decision to make.