I am glad I didn’t write this column immediately after the final whistle on Saturday, otherwise this would have been a rant of epic proportions (like you haven’t read that before).
My language as we trudged back to the car on Saturday would have made a fishwife with Tourette’s blush. But now I’ve slept on it, the overwhelming emotion is one of confusion.
I just don’t understand a performance like that; how does one make sense of a game where virtually every player had a nightmare. It was about more than complacency because during those 90 minutes we saw the same mistakes committed again and again and again.
Take Lampard as an example: virtually every pass he made was at least 10 yards short! And with every short pass the groans from the supporters got louder, but still the offending passes continued unabated until he was finally substituted. Then there was Oscar, who prior to Saturday has been having a fantastic season, yet in the Newcastle game he looked about as effective as an average pub player. It’s unfair to pick just those two as no player could be happy with their efforts at the weekend.
In his post-match interview Mourinho stated he had picked 11 wrong players. He too seemed at a loss to explain such a performance — and Jose is rarely lost for words. The worrying thing is that if you don’t know the reason behind it and can’t explain it, how can you put it right? It almost makes that hard-fought victory against Manchester City pointless.
So a 970km round trip, a dreadful performance, no acknowledgement from the majority of the team as they all trooped down the tunnel while we froze our bits off up in the gods — not one of my favourite football days...
It was all so different from last Tuesday. We looked the business against Arsenal. We out-played them, out-fought them, out-thought them. And in the stands 9,000 Chelsea fans silenced the home crowd, north London was ours that night.
Which makes the Newcastle game even more difficult to understand. Hopefully Jose figures it out quickly as we have a potentially difficult game against Schalke this week followed by a Premier League date with West Brom.
What will be telling will be the team that Mourinho fields against Schalke or, more to the point, who doesn’t get picked.
But as has been my mantra for the new season, we must trust Jose. I still wouldn’t want to see anyone else at the helm of my team and we know what he can do. We need to put Saturday down as just a bad day at the office and move on.
All the teams considered in contention have had such days and I imagine all will have some in the future as this is certainly going to be a close-run title race.
Also, I think many of us also forget that we are still only just in November and that there is a lot of football still to play.
The chants for Mourinho throughout the game demonstrate that this is a club united, in stark contrast to last season.
We have a special manager, a great squad, a generous owner and a devoted following.
The future can only be bright.
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