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The Jose Mourinho, Sam Allardyce and Tony Pulis Way: Pragmatism is Not Cynicism

jose mourinho sign The Jose Mourinho, Sam Allardyce and Tony Pulis Way: Pragmatism is Not Cynicism

Soccer is all about results. It’s a results oriented business, not an entertainment first oriented charity. All too often supporters and many in the media seem to forget this reality.  Obsession with style and aesthetic elements of soccer has always been prevalent, but recently the proponents of the beautiful game have become maddening in their dogma and willingness to chastise anyone who does not share their principles.

Sunday’s 2-0 Chelsea win over Liverpool has been derided by critics as anti-football and cynical. But given the fixture congestion and injuries that the Blues have had to deal with, Jose Mourinho employed a tactic best suited to his side. To do otherwise would be to unilaterally disarm against a Liverpool side that had won eleven on the trot and whose attacking impetus is becoming legendary.

While Mourinho’s narcissistic theatrics and press statements deserve scorn, his tactics ought to be held up as a master class on how you win big matches when undermanned. Chelsea’s fighting spirit and high-energy pressing were a reflection of the manager’s influence.

Sam Allardyce has West Ham United all but mathematically safe for another Premier League season. Yet he is receiving little credit from the masses of Hammers supporters, and instead is being subjected to derisive commentary from those fans whose club otherwise may be still stuck in the Championship under a different gaffer.

West Ham supporters may feel like the ethos of their club has been ripped out by Allardyce’s tactical approach, which is less defined and less long-ball oriented than critics claim. And while it is very true that West Ham has traditionally played a slicker style of soccer that’s easier on the eye than what we witness currently, Allardyce will have kept West Ham up for the second straight season after achieving promotion. Given the tumult at the bottom of the division in recent seasons and the need to maintain Premier League status for the move to Olympic Stadium, “Big Sam” deserves credit for a job well done.

Then we have Tony Pulis. Upon his appointment as Crystal Palace Manager in late November, I wrote the following:

“Ultimately, Palace have a squad that are not equipped for survival, but if any single manager in English football can keep them competitive it is perhaps Pulis.”

Not only has Pulis achieved survival with the Eagles but he has improved the ability of the club to attack properly. Derided for cynicism and style in his long tenure at Stoke City, critics now are finally giving the Welshman the benefit of the doubt. But why did it take so long? Why were Pulis’ accomplishments at Stoke often disparaged by the media and supporters of other clubs?

The simple answer is pragmatism. Results-oriented soccer is now seen as antiquated and perhaps not fashionable in the cosmopolitan scene that has overtaken large elements of the English game. Many in and around British football seem to suffer from an identity crisis. They want English players and others from home nations to excel, but they ridicule any attempt to play soccer in a manner that suits the skills set of most British players. They demand England play like Spain or Brazil, a condition that is completely unnatural to the domestic player. This has become a common theme among soccer fans and the media.

Thankfully the Premier League has managers like Mourinho, Allardyce and Pulis who don’t conform to a phony arbitrary standard of aesthetics and what is good for soccer. While we certainly do not want to see 92 professional clubs in England playing soccer the way these managers prefer, it would be good to see more managers base tactical considerations on achieving results. Often times pressure from the boardroom and supporters becomes insufferable preventing the true pragmatism and wise man-management of the top coaches from taking hold.

But perhaps with Mourinho’s continued success and the realization that Pulis worked a miracle this year at Selhurst Park, the hardened snobbish attitudes will begin to change. We can only hope.

chelsea parking the bus The Jose Mourinho, Sam Allardyce and Tony Pulis Way: Pragmatism is Not Cynicism

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC. View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

65 Responses to The Jose Mourinho, Sam Allardyce and Tony Pulis Way: Pragmatism is Not Cynicism

  1. Frill Artist says:

    The only cynics and critics are the bitter Liverpool fans.

    • yespage says:

      I’m not bitter. Liverpool wasn’t able to score. You don’t score, you don’t win games. Liverpool made two bad mistakes that directly lead to Chelsea goals. The result isn’t in doubt. What is in doubt is why Chelsea had to resort to such a playing style. Liverpool is not that much better than Chelsea to warrant such a playing style.

      I’m really glad that the result wasn’t due to a bad call by the referee.

      • DET says:

        “Liverpool is not that much better than Chelsea” – correction Liverpool ARE NOT better than Chelsea.

        “Why resort to such a playing style” – you mean the style that was successful and won? Hmmm hard question.

        • yespage says:

          FYI, Liverpool have more points than Chelsea. Liverpool also remains one of two teams that have a shot at the EPL title, the other being Man City, not Chelsea.

          • DET says:

            Imagine that without competing in the Champions league or even Europa.

            I almost forgot when did you beat Chelsea this season?

          • Yespage says:

            Good point. That first win over Liverpool was impressive. A guy that should have been red carded in the 5th minute scored the game winning goal. Enjoy third place (a particular Chelsea’s fan first).

          • DET says:

            Ah yes, once the facts are stated the excuses start to fly. Hey when you’ve been a losing club for so long don’t let the facts get in the way. Congrats?

  2. YoYo says:

    I think where the criticism of Mourinho really intensifies is when he brandishes one of his fellow pragmatist according to this article, in Allardyce, for playing “football from the 19th Century.” This is the exact tactic that he employed against Liverpool yesterday. It can’t just be myself who feels as though that is Mourinho being a hypocrite. This is where the moral high ground, or low ground in Mourinho’s case is at its most extreme for me. Forget the planned time wasting from the first minute. AND Jose’s spirited run down the touchline to celebrate the meaningless second goal. When Jose criticizes a team with a manager who according to this article, uses the same pragmatical tactics to get results, then uses those same tactics to get the same desired results, you cannot expect people to not call you out on it. I will leave this post with one more quote from Jose, “The only [other] thing I could bring was a Black and Decker [tool] to destroy the wall” I find that quote to be particularly relevant to yesterdays game as well.

    • gillyrosh says:

      The thing is, we all react to Mourihno as if he has a sense of shame about what he does (the gamesmanship, the hypocrisy, the pettiness, the vindictiveness). But hasn’t he shown in his behavior that the word shame is not in his vocabulary? You’d think we’d get it by now.

  3. scott says:

    So those huge Tv contracts are for pragmatism not entertain, right. If everyone played pragmatically, those huge revenues would dry up quickly. Make no mistake the growth of every sport is predicated on it’s entertainment value, everything else is secondary. However, I agree for teams like Palace and West Ham it’s al about staying up and keeping that Tv revenue but make no mistake those Tv companies are not paying their brand of football.

  4. eplnfl says:

    The only football that matters is winning football.Losers talk about what type of football you play. Winners show us championship banners.

    The best thing about Mourinho all season is he got everyone to buy into his story line. He played everyone well. People accepted and still do his poor Chelsea line of being the team even he views on the outside looking in.Now he is inside. Brilliant.

    Liverpool fans you have done so well all season and have built up some much credibility in the world football community. No matter what happens stay classy. You have honored your fallen bother and sister fans amazingly well. Your coach and owner have set an example of strong, effective, but dignified leadership. No matter what happens you have had a great season. I hope things break your way and you take the crown but in any event be proud and do not let anyone else bring you down.

  5. M Owen says:

    I can understand when tony pulis and sam use these methods to get points they operate on 1/10 of the budget of Chelsea but to turn top players and turn them into 10 defenders is not something to be proud off.
    Chelsea fans wonder why Man City are well liked when they have taken the same path as Chelsea to achieve success.

  6. Smokey Bacon says:

    Pulis and Big Sam May sue for defamation after that headline.

    Chelsea are the new Leeds.

  7. Clampdown says:

    Kartik,

    I’ll have to disagree that this was a masterclass of any sort and that it wasn’t also cynical and negative. It was. But it also was indeed pragmatic and effective. I have trouble believing this match wouldn’t have finished 0-0 if not for the Gerrard slip (and how cruel for it to have been him). But the slip did happen and Chelsea took advantage.

    Liverpool and Rodgers can be criticized for not having a plan B, but only to a certain extent. Once Chelsea scored, the only way Liverpool gets back in the match is either through a set piece goal or a mistake, neither of which came – and credit to Chelsea for making sure it didn’t.

    Also, who could Liverpool bring on to change the game? Sturridge got his run in, but he’s not fully fit and you could see his touch was off. And then the Reds had to resort to Aspas. If that isn’t an indication to the gulf in depth and ability to spend I don’t know what is.

    I’ll be disappointed if Liverpool don’t win the title, but I can’t complain if they don’t, and I won’t be upset if its City. It’s been a hell of a ride all season and they’ve far surpassed any expectations. Hoping for the Scouse brothers to help out, but that’s a lot to ask.

    • yespage says:

      Simply put, Liverpool’s defense will be the reason the don’t win, if they don’t win. And if they do win, it’ll be in spite of their defense. It is a significant liability that must be addressed this off season.

  8. yespage says:

    Pulis puts out a gameplan that is required to make best with what his team has talent wise. Tony Pulis coached Stoke City to the knockout round in the Europa League with much much less money to buy players.

    What gets me is that Chelsea is hardly a team that should have to rely on such tactics. I wasn’t entering the Sunday game thinking this would be a blow out and the only way Chelsea could manage a point would be to field 11 goalies.

    Why did Chelsea score? Because Liverpool was given (they didn’t take it, but Chelsea gave it to them) 70+% possession, that they had all of their players up for so much of the game. Chelsea scored twice because of Liverpool errors. Chelsea didn’t make anything happen on the pitch. But it isn’t like they lack the talent to do so.

    Tony Pulis puts that gameplan out because they lack the pure talent to defeat teams with bottomless pockets. Comparing a Pulis team with a Mourinho team is ridiculous.

    • yespage says:

      A couple other notes, Chelsea were wasting time in the first half. Mourinho went out to grab the ball, throw-ins took much longer, goal kicks took longer. Even a Pulis team wouldn’t resort to such tactics in the first half of a game!

      • Rob says:

        Exactly, I think that’s what most people hate, the wasting time, pretending to be injured, etc.
        All the England fans, and English press will go crazy if teams do it against them in the world cup but Mourinho’s Chelsea are fine.

  9. Chelsea Ren says:

    You’re all so stupid
    Firstly, Liverpool didn’t need to win yesterday
    A draw meant they only had to win their last two to be champions
    So chelsea’s team and tactics practically handed the title to Liverpool
    All Liverpool had to do was draw
    But they weren’t good enough to do so even against a team not attacking
    How poor can you get
    Any team that has such a disgusting defensive record doesn’t deserve the title
    And now you blew it
    Jose handed Liverpool a draw and they blew it

    • Clampdown says:

      Though you haven’t said it, your comments point to how naive Rodgers was in addressing the match. He could have had Liverpool also sit back and try and counter, but he didn’t. Also, why is Steven Gerrard the last man back on that play? Where are the center backs? Why would you spread the field that way, particularly in the closing minutes of the half?

      One thing, though. If you believe Mourinho intended a draw, why would he do that? Chelsea still have an outside chance for the title, but they can only get there by winning not drawing. He was smart, but more than anything lucky that Gerrard slipped.

    • Paul says:

      What a load of rubbish.

      Rodgers will not have his team play negative football in order to just grind out a draw. He will always go out to score and win a match outright. Any defensive frailties are more than made up for with a stunning front line so on the basis of that alone, Liverpool would be more than deserving champions this year.

      I have always preferred a team to go out fighting instead of placing everybody behind the ball. The only saving grace if Liverpool don’t win the league is for Man City to take it instead. So long as Chelsea don’t win it then games a good’n.

      • yespage says:

        I suppose that is why in Hockey, the Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings come to mind as dynasties, while the Devils seem to be a bit forgotten, despite their great success.

      • Clampdown says:

        Paul, I’m glad Rodgers doesn’t play that way, either. However, wins this season have mostly been predicated on scoring early and forcing the opposition to be more open. As the first half wore on it became apparent how difficult it would have been to score against Chelsea. Like I said, if not for the slip I can’t see that match having ended anything but 0-0. Rodgers has shown this season how flexible he can be with his tactics. I don’t think he got it right this time. (easy to say in hindsight)

        • Paul says:

          Absolutely. Wins by and large have come from tearing the opposition apart in the first 20 minutes where possible.

          I don’t think Rodgers did much wrong to be honest. He doesn’t have the luxury of a dynamic squad and he couldn’t have set up to simply block Chelsea out for 90 minutes. We’re not the same calibre. We’ve very much punched above our weight this season and that was cruelly dealt yesterday.

          It was evident from the moment Gerrard slipped that he was on a one man mission to right his wrong because it would have killed him inside. Instead taking the time to probe, they lost their heads a bit instead of thinking it through. They lacked discipline in the second half.

          • goisles01 says:

            I agree with that. after the slip, Gerrard looked to force opportunities that weren’t there

      • scott says:

        Chelsea may have won the match, but Liverpool won more fans with thier display.

      • Chelsea Ren says:

        how foolish
        Then enjoy losing
        It’s not a backyard kick around with your children
        Draw and take the title or keep talking rubbish and watch others celebrate
        Yes Rodgers approached the game like a child, clueless and innocent and got what he deserved,,,,,,,,,,, nothing
        Enjoy

  10. Mike Tanner says:

    There is a feeling here in the US that soccer is a sport with a low IQ. That the soccer world just doesn’t “get it.”

    Discussions of pragmatism and doing what it takes to win miss the point. The POINT is that soccer ITSELF allows tactics -such as are used by Mourinho- to succeed. The problem is that you CAN park the bus in association football and reasonably expect a good result. You can’t do this in hockey, rugby, American Football, basketball, aussie rules football, cricket, etc. You simply would not be likely to succeed in these sports with such tactics. Soccer could take a number of steps to make getting a result via such cynical means much more difficult…such as:

    1) Award 0 points for a Nil-Nil draw. This takes away the incentive for caginess at the beginning of many big matches where fear (cowardice) is the order of the day.

    2) Extend the ban on the back pass to balls sent back to keeper via headers, chesting, etc. ban all back passes, not just those with feet. This will put added pressure on defenses and make these options a liability.

    3) Start properly calling infringements in the box during corners and free kicks. many teams that park the bus concede corners and spot kicks. Make this more of a liability.

    4) Establish post-match reviews for diving and other cynical infringements and ban players committing such acts of cheating for an appropriate number of matches. This is already being done in Major League Soccer with excellent results. This discourages negative play.

    Soccer has become a sport without honor. Diving, cynical play, cheating have become the norm under the banner of “Pragmatism”. It is a disgrace and is anti-sporting by definition. Soccer is becoming a non-sport. Those who pretend to love this game better get their acts together and stop rationalizing away this nonsense. We now have the prospect that this sort of cynical garbage will be the order of the day at the upcoming World Cup and we soccer fans will be embarrassed and shown to be clueless.

    • scott says:

      Great comment, Mike. Fans will not tune into see pragmatism. And as much as people want to say it’s about winning, it’s not, it’s about money, and pragmatism or what every anyone wants to call it, will not sell.

    • scrumper says:

      Soccer is becoming a non sport….hmm what’s that then? Gardening? Or perhaps catching a bus? I suppose you can say they are non sports. But how about parking a bus? Now you have a conundrum.

      Very intriguing concept. How does the world’s most popular sport become a non sport? – discuss.

    • Guy says:

      Your ideas make sense….which means they are doomed. ;-)

  11. Andy says:

    The spanish and italians saw right through him, why can’t our media? Pragmatism is fine, but he leads into cynicism through the blatant time wasting from the first whistle. At West Ham he told a ball boy that time wasting could get him punched, yet in the first 10 minutes the ball spent 4 minutes out of play due to the very same thing he complained about. Time wasting is a bookable offence and therefore a form of cheating, yet the first booking only came out in the 92nd minute.

    How do people get involved with football to begin with? You have to be entertained. A person doesn’t simply just like football because a team is winning. They get caught up in the atmosphere, goals being scored and end to end football. The most memorable teams (Brazil, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Liverpool in the 80′s, Utd (1993-2013) all had one thing in common. They were entertaining to watch. They attacked teams ruthlessly and played free flowing football.

    Chelsea’s second 11 still cost more than Liverpool’s first 11 yesterday as well as having £90m worth of talent on the bench. FOr that you’d expect far more than sitting deep and just hoping to latch onto a mistake, even if it did come in added time put on due to their unsporting behavior for time wasting.

    For someone who has spent so much wherever he has been, he plays with the fear of needing a result in the same way as those who he is critical of. A rich man’s Allardyce. Yesterday was more luck than anything else. It is easier to set up a team to defend with 10 behind the ball than to set up to attack teams and leaving a few gaps behind to get a result. Intricate plays are harder to execute than the mechanical nature of defending deep in a rigid formation.

    • Bergkamp_10 says:

      Entertainment and 90 million or not, fact of the matter is Chelsea are within striking distance of the Champions League, and within a hair slip up distance from the Premier League. Supporters at Stamford Bridge couldn’t care less. Heck, I couldn’t care if Wenger deployed this tactics and got result, instead of sending his sheep to slaughter in the interest of entertaining the world.

      By the way, you and people with your views think it’s easy to set up defensively with 10 man behind the ball and nobody will concede. You couldn’t be far from reality. It’s difficult, very very difficult to get barrage after barrage of attacks from left right and center and yet able to repulse, without a great defensive mindset behind it.

      • Andy says:

        Not just my view but many others, too. It’s easier to defend with 10 men than it is with 4 or 5. If it was more difficult than sending out an attacking team then the likes of Pulis and Allardyce would set up that way because it would be the best way to achieve results. With limited players, though, it is easier to defend than it is to attack. With the money spent and the attacking talent Mourinho at his disposal you’d expect them to be attacking, but instead they play with fear of defeat and concentrate on the opposition more than what his own players are capable of. It’s the same reason Rafa lost Liverpool the title in 09. 10 draws, many due to being too pragmatic.

        Anyway, he went too far at the weekend with the cynical nature in which he stopped Liverpool’s rhythm. The time wasting was awful and wasn’t in the best interest of the sport, which should matter more than 3 points.

        If cheating no longer matters then the sport is ruined and anyone who defends Mourinho’s actions should no longer complain about diving etc. Winning clearly more important than sportsmanship.

        • Andy says:

          THe first line should say “Me and other coaches I’ve spoken to and debated with”

        • Bergkamp_10 says:

          “With limited players, though, it is easier to defend than it is to attack”

          I would say, with limited players, he had no other choice but to defend. It was made all the more easy for him because Liverpool have pretty much dismissed any team that opened up the game for them and particularly at Anfield. The scoreline would have been 4 or 5 0 within a blink of an aye, if he set the team up for attack.

          He is doing what any manager would do except Arsene Wenger.

          • Andy says:

            I get what you mean but the team he has is far from limited. Worse teams have gone to Anfield and played with more of a balance between attack and defence and got something (Villa-Southampton). They can be got at if their defence is pegged back into their own box. They were already playing with 2 DM’s on the pitch so protection was there against the swift counter. Fear of defeat plays too much of a role in the way he sets his teams out and the result came about because of a goal that was scored in the time added on due to his own teams cynicism and time wasting. Otherwise it had 0-0 written all over it.

            I know you play to the whistle, but it wasn’t pragmatism that won the game, it was as a result of cynicism.

            I actually like Wenger. If he had the finances Mourinho has had, along with the options he has in the squad then I doubt Chelsea draw and lose 6 games this season.

  12. Martin J. says:

    I did not have a problem with Chelsea’s defensive tactics. That is their prerogative and well within the rules. As noted, other clubs do the same.

    The bigger problem was the time wasting right from the kickoff. That goes against the spirit of the sport and for that Mourinho and Chelsea should be rightly criticized.

    It has not been lost on many how hypocritical Mourinho is when he criticized Sam Allardyce for setting up defensively or for criticizing a ball-boy for time wasting.

  13. brn442 says:

    I’m sorry Kartik but it’s wrong to put Allardyce in the same group as Mourinho, whose team, “negative” tactics aside, are within 4 matches of a cup double.

    And frankly, I find it rather patronizing to tell lifelong West Ham fans that actually attend matches, who pay good money – week in/week out, to settle for the god awful, pointless, non-winning football “Big Sam” is known for.

    I’m not going to criticize Crystal Palace, who with a limited budget and amount of time, can be forgiven for using Pulis to help extend their top flight status.

    However, injuries aside, Allardyce – an experienced top flight manager, has had an entire season to set his goals to be slightly more ambitious than avoiding relegation.

    Yes, the lower divisions are littered with clubs that have been burned by the bright lights of halcyon football whilst in the top flight but it’s a fallacy that a club of West Ham’s stature, can’t stay in the top flight and play somewhat entertaining and ambitious football at the same time.

    Football management, negative tactics and all, should always be about a “means to and end”. For Allardyce and sadly – West Ham’s fans, his tactics seem to be “an end in itself.”

  14. JamieU says:

    This article is, to put it frankly, total BS. I don’t think pragmatism is terrible when necessary, but to say that a club with a money/roster advantage virtually every time it takes the pitch NEEDS to play anti-football to get results is the definition of a shill argument.

    The whole point of this piece prooves my point; Crystal Palace (a team up from the second division this year) and West Ham (the clubs biggest signing in their history is Andy Carroll for christs sake) and clubs like them need to do whatever it takes, clubs like Chelsea that buy the most talented players in the world every summer should want to exhibit them and advertise the best the sport has to offer. As football fans we should all expect that. Look at ManCity v. Liverpool weeks prior, that was a great game for the sport for rabid and casual fans alike. This weeks bus parking by Chelsea was terrible.

  15. Pakapala says:

    Kartik wrote:
    “Results-oriented soccer is now seen as antiquated and perhaps not fashionable in the cosmopolitan scene that has overtaken large elements of the English game.”

    So is Kartik basically telling us that unless you play park-the-bus football, you do not set your team out to play to get result at all cost? That’s the underlying and incorrect assumption of this article and many that Kartik has written in the past. In other words playing like Liverpool or Manchester or Bayern are playing is not about getting maximum results?

    Who said there’s only way to play for results? Obviously the teams at the constantly at the top of the league are not Crystal Palace (or Stoke before that) and West Ham. And Chelsea current position is due mostly to their attacking flair throughout the season then to parking the bus.

  16. hoosiergunner says:

    Interesting debate, and I am enjoying the passion of the comments above…

    Personally, I have a short attention span. Maybe it’s just me, but I “need” a beautiful game or I’ll zone out and flip channels until I can find one… regardless of who is playing, whether it’s a team I’ve supported religiously for nearly 20 years or one I’ve never heard of. It’s the same when watching your own kids play; I love my kids, but I often find my eyes wandering to the more exciting game on the adjacent field. Cynicism, pragmatism, whatever you want to call it certainly produces results (I don’t think that’s the issue), but so do my microwave and dishwasher… hardly items of intense interest or devotion.

    Finally, I second the earlier comments that it’s not really fair to lump Pulis and Jose together; no one can rightfully argue that Chelsea lack the team to win in a more positive and entertaining fashion.

  17. scrumper says:

    Chelsea won the Champions League by parking the bus and everyone but Bayern Munich and Barcelona thought them justified.

    I’m no Chelsea fan but I admire how they won by the same tactics yesterday. Their defense was incredibly disciplined and totally stifled Liverpool’s attack. And they didn’t play dirty. Little bit of gamesmanship but that’s to be expected. In the second half when Liverpool started to stretch the game in frustration Mourinho chucked on Torres for the one thing he’s good at – break aways. Just like against Barcelona he did it again yesterday.

    Mourinho executed a perfect smash and grab raid. Something the Italians have been doing for the last fifty years with few complaints.

    • Gerry says:

      Chelsea’s defensive tactics can be defended but not their time wasting from the first minute. That is not gamesmanship. That is poor sportsmanship.

      I’m glad many have called Mourinho for his deporable time wasting tactics as it goes against the rules of the game. The referee needs to take blame as well for not enforcing the rules. He should have handed out yellow cards for the offence.

    • JamieU says:

      “Mourinho executed a perfect smash and grab raid. Something the Italians have been doing for the last fifty years with few complaints.”

      Huh? Any fan of great football has criticized the Italian way of playing for decades. Hell, there has long been a sublime bit of wit in Germany that goes: ‘you can lose to Italy, but they’ll never beat you’. Same for Chelsea, great if you get the title, but to the real poets of the game, there is something more to play for. It’s why some players chip a PK like Zidane did in the 2006 WC final for example. Winning is great, but doing it with flair is what gets remembered.

  18. gillyrosh says:

    I’m actually ok with Mourihno using defensive tactics. What I’m not ok with is him bellyaching when such tactics are successfully used against his team.

  19. CTBlues says:

    One bit of gamesmanship that happened in the match yesterday that I have never seen in a professional soccer match and only heard the commentators mention and I know it isn’t a rule was when Chelsea kicked the ball out for an injured player Mikel I believe and when Liverpool through it back in they didn’t play it back to Chelsea and went right back on the offensive.

  20. Iancransonsknees says:

    I’d quite like Chelsea to miraculously win the league and European Cup now, just to watch everyones head explode.

    • Clampdown says:

      Oh ICK … I’m sorry to inform you they are going to win nothing.

    • Flyvanescence says:

      If i didnt have a horse in the PL race, i would agree with you. It would be amusing to say the least.

      Then again i am firmly rooting for Real Madrid in the CL, as i want to see Casillas hoist La Decima before he leaves the club.

    • JamieU says:

      , said the troll to the internet.

      • Lumen says:

        If you were at all familiar with this site and its regular posters you would realize what an astoundingly stupid comment that is.

  21. Kevin says:

    I was watching the game with someone who doesn’t watch soccer much except during the World Cup or sometimes when the US is playing Mexico and he was so put off by Chelsea’s time-wasting tactic the he walked out 15 minutes before halftime. This game was definitely not a great advert for the sport. I dread to think what he would have said when Chelsea parked a double decker bus in the second half.

    • CTBlues says:

      Kevin from what you have saw in the match and have in these articles Chelsea do not always play this way and they will never play to another team’s strength which is why they are they only EPL team that has been able to handle the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich. The times ManU, Arsenal, and Man City have played those sides in the Champions League they try and play the same game and have been knocked out of the competition.

      • JamieU says:

        Have you only followed European football for 5 years?

        • CTBlues says:

          The last time ManU beat Barcelfinals leading into the 08 final against Chelsea and won 1-0 aggregate after the first leg was a 0-0 draw at Barca. After that they tried to play with Barca in 2 finals and couldn’t handle them.

  22. insert name here says:

    I think most well balanced football fans accept that there are loads of different ways to play football and if a team wants to defend and counter then they have every right too. Defending is a skill. Fans though get annoyed when a manager -Mourinho- who regularly uses that tactic hypocritically criticises other managers for “parking the bus” or for “19th Century football”. Thats why everyone points it out again and again that Chelzzz are shit to watch.. coz of Mourinhos bullsh8t about other teams tactics.

  23. Lumen says:

    Make sure you watch the Carragher/Neville analysis. It might surprise you.

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