Chelsea qualified from their Champions League group in the most unconvincing manner one would imagine. They lost last night against Basel and yet they qualified, courtesy of favourable results from elsewhere. They have lost twice at the hands of Swiss club but it was the manner of the defeat that irks more than anything else.
What about yesterday? At one point of time, it crossed my mind that such an exciting young team has been forced to turn into one of the most boring sides of Europe. Just 1 shot in the entire match? None on target? 22 fouls? This is contrasted against 15 attempts from the host, 7 on target and 2 shots being blocked. Heck, stats speak for itself – only one team was playing for full three points and they deservedly got it.
Not that the opposition was too strong for Chelsea. Not that Chelsea were missing several key players and there was an acute dearth of quality. That was simply not the case. They had players like Oscar, Willian, Lampard, Torres/Eto’o et al on the pitch. Yet, there was an genuine lack of creativity in the side.
It can happen to any other team but what was most baffling was despite having enough creative ammunition on the bench, Mourinho chose not to use it. Mourinho chose not to use Juan Mata at all. The Spaniard could have been used as a sub but he was forced to watch actions from the bench yet again.
I mean seriously, what role does the best player of Chelsea last season plays these days – bench warming? No wonder, why he is getting linked with a move every other week, with so many top European clubs showing keen interest.
There is no logic for this expulsion, harsh treatment on Mata. No logic at all. The only logic applies here is the ego of Mourinho acting as main hindrance for Mata. The Portuguese already made it clear in public that Mata is not his type of player and by saying that he already holds an advantage here. Mata becomes an easy scapegoat. And, all he needs to do is to prove his point, simply, by dropping him to the bench.
Mata is an integral part of this team, he deserves to play regularly, if not each and every game. But, by benching him, week after week, Mourinho is not only wasting a world class talent but jeopardizing Mata’s World Cup chances as well.
It is sad that a player of his caliber has only made only 1 Champions League start this season. Mata loves the club very much, but within himself, he is probably losing patience with the club.