By Ben Bowers
Chelsea may at times be overly cautious. But there is an unjustifiable amount of scrutiny over the way coach, Jose Mourinho, sets up his teams.
The Blues do not have the best attack in the league – Daniel Sturridge, a former Chelsea employee, has scored more league goals this season than the Chelsea front three combined. Nevertheless, The Blues have still taken their title challenge into the last week of the campaign.
This season they have conceded the fewest goals in the Premiership. Instead of deliberately playing defensive football, Mourinho is playing to Chelsea’s strengths. Their success is based upon a solid defence, hard work and determination.
Against Liverpool they were heavily criticised for their defensive set-up and their park the bus policy.
However many other teams have gone to Anfield, played more openly and got absolutely trashed. Arsenal were more expansive and conceded four goals in the opening twenty minutes against Liverpool.
Football is a results business and that is what Mourinho is best at. Chelsea do not pay him to play beautiful football but to win trophies – something he has done everywhere he has gone despite his prestige being undermined by a mixed spell at Real Madrid.
In 2012 Chelsea won the Champions League Final playing defensive football. However it is the trophy that lives in the memory of most football fans and especially Chelsea supporters.
Stoke City played direct football under Tony Pulis for many years and this was questioned by many a ‘puritan’.
However he managed to keep Stoke in The Premier League and develop them into a mid-table side whilst many other sides of the same stature as The Potters have been relegated whilst playing a more passing style of football, such as Wigan last season. Most fans would prefer success and trophies because it is the glory which remains in the memory. Whilst I do not always condone Mourinho’s conduct, the way he has set up his teams this season against the big teams has been phenomenally effective.
Football is now more money-focused and good results guarantee more money. Therefore the style of football is less important. I even find the Guardiola ‘tiki-taka’ philosophy of football boring to watch at times.
It is not Mourinho’s fault that Chelsea’s style of football does not please everyone, it is the way he gets the best out of the players that he has and delivers the results that he was appointed to achieve.