To the neutrals, what Chelsea faithfuls – on the FA Cup night last week Monday – at the Stamford Bridge did to “legendary” former gaffer, Jose Mourinho, seems okay and normal but in actual fact it is not, given his remarkable achievement with the London giants twice when he handled them. Even the term “giant” which the Blues enjoy and are often described as in recent years, he is hugely responsible for it.
Occasion was the highly anticipated FA Cup quarter final match between Chelsea and Man United, venue was the Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea Football Club. A duel which they won by 1-0 and the goal scored by the unlikeliest of personnel – defensive midfielder N’Golo Kante.
Along the line, there was a heated argument between Jose Mourinho and incumbent Chelsea gaffer, Antonio Conte; almost resulting in a fight had it not been the match official on the touchline who stood between them. A situation prompted by the dismissal of Ander Herrera, in the first half, for a rough tackle on star play maker Eden Hazard who happened to be the recipient of constant physical aggression from the Man Utd players due to his high level of skill and tact on and off the ball which they couldn’t cope with all night. Suffice it to say record has it that the Belgian is the most fouled player in the English Premier League (EPL) this season. Well, we all know why.
That scenario between the Portuguese and his successor Antonio Conte, prompted a chorus of “Judas” chants, among others, from the home faithfuls aimed at their former manager.
Trust Mourinho, a man who always have intelligent, ready-made answers to every unsavoury remarks thrown at him. Personally, I was impressed with what he said in response to the taunts.
He did say, at a news conference after the game: “They can call me what they want.
“Until the moment they have a manager that wins four Premier Leagues for them, I’m the number one.
“When they have somebody that wins four Premier Leagues for them, I become number two. Until this moment Judas is number one.”
A reference to the three PL titles he has won for them having coached Chelsea twice.
It is worthy to mention that the United manager has routinely put Chelsea’s success this term – they are 10 points clear atop the Premier League table – down to a lack of European football at the club, after last season’s dreadful campaign which cost him his job. He produced a bizarre U-turn on taking responsibility for a lack of European football at Stamford Bridge this season having earlier admitted that it’s his own fault as well.
During the pre-match Mourinho said: “It’s my fault and the players’ fault.”
However, sensing that his rough treatment by the fans during the match was borne out of frustration surrounding a season anchored to domestic fare, he had a different angle after the game.
“The only thing is we are playing in Europe and our opponent isn’t,” he said. “Our opponent could because when I left the club last season I left them in the Champions League, winning the Champions League group and qualifying for the Champions League knockout group.
“Playing the second leg at home and having the advantage of winning the Champions League group. So if they win the Champions League last year then they could be playing in Europe this season.
“It is not my fault, it is the fault of the ones that stayed here and didn’t qualify for the Champions League. It is the fact that we didn’t have a good Premier League.”
Chelsea fans having to refer to Mourinho as “Judas”, in other words, stating a case of betrayal and indirectly labeling him a traitor, for me is unjustified! This is a man who has done what no manager has ever done in the club’s existence. His coming on board in the summer of 2004 got them their first EPL trophy after a 50-year wait and then there were avalanche of trophies that followed that particular one. Recall he also won the then Carling Cup (now EFL Cup) that same season and defended the EPL trophy the following season. What a feat! Again, do they expect him to just go home, sit on an arm chair and cross his leg watching television after his unceremonious sack at the Bridge following what was alleged to be a players’ mutiny against him? Who is then gonna be paying his bills? Opportunity to handled yet another massive club side came and he grabbed it with both hands, if nothing else, to prove a point. Anyone will do the same, even myself to be honest.
Therefore, it is unfair to treat one who is unarguably “your best ever manager in your history” in such manner. After all, following his exit in 2007 after his first coming as manager, he returned to the Bridge as boss of Inter Milan – in 2010 – and knocked Chelsea out of the second round of the UEFA Champions League which he went on to win. There was no such incident between him and the fans. Why now? Is it because it is Man Utd?
In conclusion, truth must be said; Mourinho is a very passionate man who loves his job and you could see it while he was at Chelsea. Even when the alleged mutiny was going on, after each game that ended in a woeful result you see in his countenance, a man that is heart-broken, let down and almost weeping at post-match interviews and press conferences. And I know, deep down Mourinho’s heart, there is still a special place for Chelsea. He, indeed, still loves the Blues.