Special ones: Mourinho flanked by his daughter Matilde and wife Matilde Faria at Victoria’s Secret show | GETTY
It seems the tyres are finally coming off a well-oiled Chelsea team. Even with a new tyre sponsor [Yokohama tyres]. And so early in the Premier League season, the champions are already eight points behind leaders Manchester City and find themselves in 13th position with their worst start to the season in the Roman [Abramovich] era.
But give him credit, Mourinho has finally stepped up to take the blame as he suffered only his second home defeat against Crystal Palace in 100 games as Blues’ boss. Not even Radamel Falcaco’s headed goal could lift the gathering clouds at the Bridge. He told Chelseafc.com: “I blame myself for not changing one of them, because I kept him in the game for 90 minutes. When I made the third change, I realised I needed a fourth.
“If a player is not performing there are two ways of looking at it. One is I trust so much the player I am going to wait for an improvement, and maybe it comes and maybe it doesn’t. Or even trusting the player, there arrives a moment when you think you have to change.
Soap opera: Chelsea first-team doctor Eva Carneiro was blamed for being ‘naive’ in the draw against Swansea after tending to injured Eden Hazard | FACEBOOK
“The reality is we had a bad start, four points from four matches is a very bad start. We have eight points less than the leader and in another league I would say game over because in these leagues for top teams it is very difficult to lose so many points. In the Premier League I don’t say game over.”
But he now has to sit back for a fortnight and lick his wounds as his players fan around the continent on international duties. It is already shaping up to be a defining season at the Bridge with the Carneiro affair
, without throwing into the mix, an ageing JT, Costa’s temperamental hamstrings, leaky defence, a tired midfield, etc.
Pricey Pogba and Immovable Stones
Wish-list: Will Mourinho paper over the cracks with Juventus’ £70m-rated midfield powerhouse? | GETTY
Will he ask Roman to open his fat wallet for £70m-rated Paul Pogba and £40m John Stones in time before the transfer window shuts? Nope, says the unhappy one. He is sticking to plan A, just like Chancellor George Osborne. And good on him too. To panic-buy will only buoy the enemies after just four games and send a message Chelsea’s season is already in tatters.
“I don’t like that. I gave my club the reports of the season and projection on 24 April and don’t think now that I am going to say I want this, this and that. We have to do better, me and the players.” Tough talk but Chelsea will need reinforcements at the back, in midfield and even up front if they are going to survive a long season where every team is after their scalps.
Don’t be surprised if some frantic business is done between now and Tuesday (September 1). But don’t hold your breath for Messrs Stones or Pogba. Even money can’t buy everything, especially if there are no willing sellers.