Give Credit Where It Is Due

MourinhoIn order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. This Bill Cosby aptly describes Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho. It necessarily doesn’t mean that he fears failure, but he has his reputation and credibility at stake whenever he takes up an assignment, especially when returning to a previous place or organisation. And after winning his third premier league title and Chelsea’s first in five years, Mourinho was quick to admit that the title is his reward for the risk he took in returning to Stamford Bridge for a second spell. “When you go back to where you had success before you risk a bit of your prestige and your history. I risked it but I can say we won again.”

On the outside the self proclaimed ‘Special One’ may look like an arrogant, outspoken manager and to an extend he is. And it stems from his confidence in himself and his abilities and the loyalty he enjoys among his players. But give credit where credit is due and if there is one person who can be singled out for Chelsea’s title win it is none other than Mourinho. This title was sheerly won by Mourinho’s tactical nous. Starting from his summer signings to his game by game tactical decisions, the outspoken Portuguese has impressed both neutrals and rivals equally.

Chelsea had a very good team last season, but clearly missed that creative engine and a quality striker which was clearly evident. When the tranfer window opened last summer Mourinho was quick to bridge that gap and signed Cesc Fabregas who leads the assists chart and Diego Costa who could have given stiff competition to Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane this season, if not for injuries. Those two have gelled smoothly into the team with Cesc showing why he is among the best and Costa taking to the Premiership like a duck to water. And with the return of Nemanja Matic to Chelsea in January the jigsaw was complete.

But this success is not just due to his summer signings. Mourinho’s team has been rock solid at the back, giving away a miserly 27 goals in 35 games. As Steve Jobs once said ‘you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future’, in this case titles and glory. That’s exactly what Mourinho has been doing. While Branislav Ivanovic and Cesar Azpilicueta is giving width and pace at the back, a rejuvenated John Terry and a committed Gary Cahill has been bedrock at the back. And behind that back four in Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea has got one of the best goalkeepers in the world who along with David de Gea who can dominate the game for at-least a decade. And not to mention the ever blossoming Eden Hazard who is maturing and giving the kind of performances that could see him challenge Ronaldo and Messi for the Ballon d’Or.

Chelsea at times did play the so called ‘boring football’ or parking the bus, but who cares as it boils down to getting three points. Possession based attacking play is good to watch, but there is no use if you can’t win matches. Titles are won by goals and points and not by possession and I don’t think Chelsea fans would have a problem if they keep on winning the title in this fashion.

But having said that Chelsea’s job is only half done. As much as Chelsea fans would revel their title triumph there is no denying the fact that this has been achieved to a certain extend due to the bad performance of its rivals. There was no clear fight from Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City. United failed to make a title charge as they were recovering from last season’s catastrophe and is rebuilding under Louis Van Gaal. Last season’s winners City was there in the title race till early this year but then lost the plot completely primarily due to an aging squad and a midfield that looks totally disinterested. And Arsenal for a change has kept winning in the fag end of the season, but it was a little too late and had it been a slight early they could have given solid competition to Chelsea. Liverpool like United spent a lot after the exit of Suarez but that hasn’t translated into wins, while Tottenham and Southampton were never in the race for the top spot.

Next season will be more tougher and Chelsea won’t get a clear run at the title like this year. Arsenal, United, City and Liverpool will all improve their squads while Spurs and Southampton will keep on pushing for a spot in the Champions League. So what needs to be seen if Chelsea can defend the title. Also Chelsea’ s season in Europe was a failure and Mourinho has a lot of work to do to make his team play at the level of Barcelona, Madrid (both Real and Atletico) and Bayern Munich. He certainly has one eye on that trophy which has eluded him as a Chelsea manager previously (although both Jose and Chelsea have won it separately).

Mourinho is at his best when he is challenged and he thrives on them. And even the man himself would have liked a more competitive season as that brings out the best of him. To be fair Chelsea’s future is in safe hands and they will keep on competing and winning trophies as long as Mourinho rules the roost at Stamford Bridge.

Once again congratulations to Jose Mourinho and Chelsea for a job well done. They well and truly deserved to be champions of England.

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