Chelsea’s Bigger Budget Doesn’t Mean That Jose Mourinho’s Team Should Play With Less Pragmatism

Jose Mourinho and Chelsea came in for another round of criticism for playing what has been dubbed “anti-football” by critics this past Sunday at Anfield. The Blues won 2-0 to keep their league title hopes alive. This came after similarly negative displays at Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City.

A prevalent theme among the critics is that Mourinho, who is captaining the ship of one of the richest soccer clubs on the planet for the second time, has an obligation to play differently. Soccer is meant to be entertaining, we are told. However, a theory has been widely floated that when someone who has great resources at their disposal opts to play in such a negative and cynical fashion as Mourinho has in big matches at Chelsea, it hurts the overall likeability of the sport.

To me, this notion is patently absurd. Winning is what determines sponsorships, ticket sales, global reach and ultimately the retention of a manager. With fixture congestion worse than ever, managing resources becomes the name of the game if a club of Chelsea’s ambition is to compete on multiple fronts.

A club like Chelsea that does not have a long identifiable style of play or a history of success like say a Liverpool, Manchester United or Arsenal should be using every possible mechanism to claim trophies and build a culture of success. Jose Mourinho understood this when he arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2004 for the first time and still understands what is at stake.

It could be argued that the bigger the budget the more necessary it is to achieve results. Thus this makes the obligation to play attractive and open soccer less wise. It could be strongly argued that the easiest way to achieve results that involves fulfilling the desire of investors and sponsors of the club is to set up like Jose Mourinho does in critical away matches.

Building a winning culture is not about slick passing football, and mouthwatering movement. It is about winning trophies, achieving maximum results and creating a fear factor in the opposition. Few managers on the planet do this better than Jose Mourinho. His former protégé Brendan Rodgers would be wise to have taken some notes on Sunday and to impart the lessons in his coaching dossier for the future.

Further reading: Was Chelsea’s victory against Barcelona two years ago a victory for English football or a sign of its decline?

16 thoughts on “Chelsea’s Bigger Budget Doesn’t Mean That Jose Mourinho’s Team Should Play With Less Pragmatism”

  1. Sport is an entertainment. People watch to be entertained. Explain to me what chelsea do is entertaining? Chelsea are one of tge reasons ehy most americans findvthe sport boring, that style fitd the stereotype of soccer so many americans have and when americans who dont follow soccer tune into big matches like the champions league final on fox and see chelsea play like this turning the game into a snore fest they will turn the channel and not even bother with the sport anymore.
    Mourinho is not a good manager in any sense either. He relies on other prior managers to raise and nurture players into superstars and buys them up. He bleeds them dry like an oil well because he adds absokutely nothing to them skill wise. All he literally does is tell them to defend and act like a WWE side boss on the side line. There is a huge reason why he leaves clubs every 3 years, yes he is a bipolar mental but also because he knows himself he bleed all the talent dry from the team and since he doesnt and cant contribute anything himself to the players he needs to abandon ship and find the next ship to plunder dry. There is a reason no one but chelsea fans and maybe inter fans like him, even real madrid fans hate his guts for the stuff he pulled in soain by causing locker room problems to eye gouging an assisant coach who now is dead from cancer.

  2. There is a thing called sportsmanship. Wasting time in the first half is not sporting. The manager grabbing at the ball, multiple players faking injuries, taking too long to throw in the ball or play free kicks (all in the first half).

    How you win does matter. Barry Bonds is the all-time HR champ, yet isn’t heralded like the man he passed Hank Aaron.

    Cheating does matter. Parking the bus just added to the frustration.

    1. Totally agree with you, yespage. It was very bad sportsmanship on the part of Chelsea to time waste from the very first minute. I have never seen that before. This was taken to a new level never seen before. This was done deliberately to disrupt Liverpool’s style of play which is to attack from the get-go. To disrupt a team while the ball is in play is one thing but to keep the ball away from play is quite another. It goes against the rules of the game, not to mention against the spirit of the game too. Even teams with lesser talent don’t time waste from the start and as much as Chelsea did in this game.

      Chelsea parking the bus is well within the rules of the game. Time wasting of the type we saw on Sunday is not.

      People in England are finally realizing why Mourinho was so hated in Spain. Even the real Madrid players didn’t like his negative tactics, especially when theyb played Barcelona. He uses tactics that go against the spirit of the game.

  3. God, remember when epltalk liked soccer? We get it, you’re pro-Chelsea. This is the third essay in favor of Mourinho’s tactics (maybe more, who cares to count), why not spare of from another?

    You know the new great feature around here where great games are posted in their entirety? You think anyone will ever want to watch one of these cynical Chelsea games years on (rabid Chelsea trolls aside)?

    1. It was the same thing when Chelsea won the CL. Anyone who dared suggest that they bored us all to death with their negative display were pilloried on this site. To each his own, I suppose. Just don’t complain when others do it to your club then.

  4. Cut and paste thoughtful comments from yesterday’s iteration of this post here…

    …add, if I had a Ferrari, a Maserati, and a BMW in the garage, why in the world would I keep driving my 2002 Honda Accord? Certainly it gets the job done, but there’s a notable difference between getting there and truly “arriving.”

  5. You assume that winning football and entertaining football are mutually exclusive. They are not. Plenty of teams that play good football win things. Chelsea can play any style they want, that’s their business. Just don’t expect some of us to like it. Btw, Chelsea had a reputation for good football until the annoying one showed up. Remember, he’s already been fired once for playing ugly. Perhaps someone should ask the oligarch what he thinks.

    1. I know what Abramovich be thinking, I spend all of this money on players and this is what I get for it. Anyone one can win ugly, which is why I am always surprised by the praise Mou gets.

  6. Am I seeing double or is Kartik just write yet another article on the same subject (2 articles in 2 days about the same thing)? Really there’s no other subject matter of interest to you Kartik?

    1. I know this guys obsession with Mou,is bizarre. He claims to be a City fan, but most of his articles read more like love letters, to Mou and Chelsea.

  7. Jose Mourinho and Chelsea, ZZZZZZZZZZ… I used to like Chelsea, not anymore. I can’t stand the boring style they play. So I watch something else.

  8. Amazing this debate continues. Mourinho has carried this style everywhere he’s gone and slain giants. The only people who don’t like it are those that can’t defeat it.

    Anyone who says they loved Chelsea but stopped because of Mourinho might want to take some time and think about that for awhile.

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