Mourinho criticized West Ham's defensive tactics when they drew at Stamford Bridge in midweek. Goal's Brendon Netto suggests he will need to contradict himself as they face City.
Following a frustrating goalless draw against West Ham United at Stamford Bridge, Jose Mourinho launched a scathing attack on Sam Allardyce and his side. The Chelsea boss accused the visitors of playing "19th century football". However, he may have backed himself into a corner with his statements as he takes his side to the most feared venue in the Premier League on Monday night - The Etihad Stadium.
Chelsea had 39 attempts at goal on Wednesday night while the Hammers only registered one but still secured a vital away point. Mourinho went as far as to say that their defenders looked more like goalkeepers and even deemed their football unworthy of the Premier League – all this after only recently accusing Arsene Wenger of ‘always moaning’.
"This is football from the 19th century. This is not the Premier League. This is not the best league in the world." - Jose Mourinho
Mourinho was left frustrated against West Ham
In fact, the Portuguese tactician has been guilty of playing for a draw several times. Against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium this season, he employed a defensive set-up and introduced David Luiz for Fernando Torres in the closing stages with the score at 0-0 in order to earn a point. When being accused of playing boring football on that occasion, he stated that a team playing at home that cannot score is the boring one.
“I think boring is a team that plays at home and cannot score a goal” - Mourinho after the 0-0 draw away to Arsenal
At Old Trafford, he played without a striker, earning a 0-0 draw on that occasion as well. He’s also been known to win games whilst resorting to negative or defensive-minded tactics. His exploits against Barcelona in particular frequently exhibited the same whether he was in charge of Inter Milan or Real Madrid. In his first stint at Chelsea as well, he was renowned for shutting up shop as soon as his side went a goal or two ahead.
So naturally his comments in the aftermath of the draw on Wednesday night reeked of hypocrisy, frustration and believe it or not, a touch of genius. Regardless of what you may think of Mourinho, he is one of the shrewdest characters around and always has a few tricks up his sleeve. Once again, he hogged the spotlight and took all the pressure off his players.
He managed to take the pressure off his players
The media ran wild with Mourinho’s controversial quotes and Allardyce’s amused retort while the fact that Chelsea had dropped two points at home against lowly opposition almost went unnoticed. That didn’t happen by accident, the Chelsea boss knew what he was doing.
The only problem with that ploy though is that it may come back to bite him sooner than he would like. When Chelsea travel to face Manchester City away, the Portuguese’s quotes will no doubt be fresh in the minds of everyone involved and with the form Manuel Pellegrini’s team are in, Mourinho will probably have to contradict himself if he is to get a result.
City have been ruthless at home in this league campaign, winning all 11 of their fixtures on their own turf. In the process, they’ve plundered 42 goals at an average of 3.82 goals per game while conceding just 8. Surely Mourinho isn’t going to be brazen enough to attack the Citizens, especially given his pragmatic nature and result oriented approach.
City are scoring for fun at the moment
Also, it’s absolutely crucial that Chelsea don’t lose this game. What hasn’t been highlighted enough is that the draw against West Ham leaves the Blues in a dangerous position. It means that City now top the table and are three points ahead of Chelsea. A defeat on Monday night for the west London club would see that gap widen to six points, a difficult margin to make up even at this stage of the season given City’s relentless form.
Mourinho must ensure that he restricts the league leaders to a draw at the very least in order to keep them within range. It’s something that the calculative manager will certainly be aware of and therefore may have to throw his integrity under the bus and perhaps use it to keep City’s attack at bay, metaphorically speaking.
True to form, Mourinho hasn’t missed a beat, trying to play down City’s dominance by claiming that they’ve been ‘lucky’ with crucial refereeing decisions, lest his side goes into the clash with an inferiority complex.
"Maybe, for the Tottenham manager, the planet is England" - Mourinho commenting on Tim Sherwood calling City 'the best team on the planet'It’ll be fascinating to see just how Mourinho sets his side up at the Etihad Stadium but perhaps even more intriguing would be his post-match comments, should Chelsea grind out a valuable point courtesy of a dogged 0-0 draw.
|Will Mourinho set up defensively against City? Send in your thoughts in the comments below or discuss with the writer on Twitter @BrendonNetto.|
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