Chelsea, Mourinho and player loyalty

The “I’ll stay if you stay” story about Terry and Mourinho has done the rounds recently. Very touching, to say the least, and absolutely not the sort of material that should be used to poke fun at Chelsea’s troubles, but that’s the media for you.

It’s something I’ve been meaning to write about – Jose Mourinho’s man management skills and the impact of that at Chelsea.

Mourinho’s is not the world’s greatest tactician. Playing a holding midfielder in a 4-5-1 that turns into 4-3-3 in attack is not prophecy, it’s a legacy of limited teams doing their damndest to compete with bigger, more skilled teams by defending all over the pitch and attacking in numbers.

Not rocket science then.

Mourinho’s also credited with the biggest ego this side of God, and while that’s probably not true it’s close enough. You can love him or hate him, his ability to pick the lopsided, myopic argument at every single opportunity is a clear indication that crazy succeeds in football (just look at Wenger, or the old Ferguson (the new Ferguson isn’t so much fun)).

But one thing that Mourinho has done right – and better than any other manager in the Premiership – is manage his core team.

He’s brought the best out of Terry and Lampard (the contrast between their performances for Chelsea and England is frightening), drilled a maniacal desire to win in all his players, promised them the Premiership title if they did what he said and then delivered on it in stunning fashion for two seasons and most of all, building a young ‘core’ group of players that are world-class and will stay together for a long time.

Having said all that, Terry won’t leave Chelsea if Jose does – but Terry WILL leave Chelsea if Lamps and Drogs and Essien do, and if no one ‘better’ than Mourinho (and those players) is brought in.

But that’s like saying that Terry would leave if Chelsea decided to go backwards.

Not really a case of Terry’s loyalty to Mourinho then, but Terry’s loyalty to his own ambitions.

Maybe’s that’s a juicier story than Terry and Mourinho heading into the sunset, arm in arm, laughing as Chelsea burns down behind them?

Probably not…

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