Ololade Ajekigbe: A Special Headache For The Special One

It is no longer news that the self-proclaimed “Special One” has been having some not-so-special moments as the coach of the defending champions, Chelsea since the beginning of the 2015/16 English Premier League season. The blues have won two, drawn two, and lost four of the eight games they have played so far this season. A shock to many and their worst start to a premier league season in 37 years! Jose Mourinho’s seven-minute rambling to one question was reminiscent of a man clutching at straws out of desperation. He cut the figure of one afraid of getting the boot after his second coming to a club he clearly loves so much. It looked almost likely that the Chelsea boss would be on his way out of Stamford bridge, and effectively become the third manager to bite the dust after the sacking of Dick Advocaat of Sunderland and Brendan Rodgers of Liverpool.

The usually composed Portuguese went on and on about the unfair treatment constantly meted out to Chelsea by match officials and insisted that he would not resign unless he was fired, maintaining that he is still the best man to lift the club out of the quagmire they currently find themselves. Even though his “first-to-attack” strategy of literally asking the club management to either back him or sack him seems to have paid off, as the Chelsea board have issued a statement reiterating their full support for him and affirming his position as manager of the club, one cannot help but wonder how patient Roman Abramovich will continue to be should Chelsea fail to win their next two games at home to the equally relegation threatened Aston Villa and away to West Ham United.

The Russian Billionaire has in time past been quick to wield his “red card” when Chelsea have looked unlikely to make top four; the unceremonious exit of Felipe Scolari, Andre-Villas Boas and Roberto Di matteo are cases in point. Feelers have it that the only reason why Mourinho is still being retained as the coach of the Blues is because the Chelsea owner has opted to be cautious about making a hasty decision this time around, considering the way he parted ways acrimoniously with the “Special One” during his first spell at the club. Apart from the veiled threat to his position at his beloved Chelsea, the 52- year old also has to contend with the charge of misconduct against him by the English Football Association. If found guilty, he could face a stiff penalty after his comments about referee Robert Madley’s failure to award a penalty to his team during their home game against Southampton which they eventually lost 3-1.

Apart from the much publicised row and subsequent fall out with popular team doctor Eva Caneiro, which not a few people have blamed Mourinho for, there have been rumours about all not being well in the dressing room, especially regarding the dropping skipper John Terry, as well as some senior players for some crucial games; most importantly, their Champions league clash with Porto. But the Chelsea captain has come out to say that the players believe in their coach and his ability to get them out of the doldrums of the bleak situation that they have found themselves. The continued selection of Branislav Ivanovic for matches despite his obvious poor run of form have also raised a few eyebrows.

Nevertheless, what is worrisome is that Mourinho doesn’t seem to have identified the problem with his team at the moment; a prerequisite for finding the solution to the problem, for how can one solve a problem that he has not identified? Another school of thought which consists of the former Inter Milan, England and Russia manager Fabio Capello believe that the Portuguese is usually bereft of ideas during his second season at a club, an opinion I find difficult to agree with given the successful spells the Chelsea coach had both in his first and second seasons at Porto and Chelsea.

I am of the opinion that if anyone can turn Chelsea’s season, it certainly would be Jose Mourinho.  As a matter of fact, I believe Chelsea can still clinch a champions league spot this season. Apart from his thorough understanding of the Blues having spent a good number of years with them. His impeccable career achievements as a fantastic coach who ranks among the world’s best when it comes to getting results is certainly not in doubt. Very few managers can boast of Mourinho’s pedigree! The stats speak for him! Which is why he is also regarded by many players, coaches and commentators as one of the greatest and most successful managers in the world. The charismatic Portuguese is one of only five coaches to have won the Champions League with two different teams. Not forgetting the fact that he has won league titles in four different countries!

Quite a number of people also believe that Mourinho’s “many sins” have come to find him out; citing his flippant tongue and friction with a couple of people (especially Eva Caneiro and Arsenal coach, Arsene Wenger) as reasons for his teams recent misfortune. But for now, I am glad that the controversial Chelsea boss gets to keep his job. Aside his obvious knack for grinding out results and unquestionable knowledge of the game, what would the Premier League be without the shenanigans of the “Special One?” I am also not ready to see his rivalry with Wenger fizzle out just yet; an almost certain prospect if Mourinho were to leave Chelsea now.

One thing is sure at the moment; Jose Mourinho needs to put his money where his mouth is and find an immediate solution to his faltering side, or he might just be the third managerial casualty of the Premier League season sooner than later.

Ololade Ajekigbe


Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of www.omojuwa.com nor its associates

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