Belfast Telegraph

Jose Mourinho should play strongest Chelsea side against Liverpool

mourinho risks ruin by focusing on europe

By Steven Beacom

Jose Mourinho is one of the best football managers the world has ever seen and as compelling a character as you'll find in sport.

On the downside he also happens to be a hypocrite.

This is what he said in 2004 during his first spell as Chelsea boss after a scoreless draw with Tottenham.

"They brought the bus and they left the bus in front of the goal. I would have been frustrated if I had been a supporter who paid £50 to watch this game because Spurs came to defend. There was only one team looking to win, they only came not to concede – it's not fair for the football we played."

Clearly not mellowed by age, a decade on in his second and current spell in charge of the Blues, the 51-year-old stated the following after a scoreless draw with West Ham.

"This is football from the 19th century. A football match is about two teams playing and this match was only one team playing."

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce laughed his head almost clean off when he heard his opposite number's disparaging comments that night. Nobody was chuckling watching Chelsea on Tuesday.

Crying more like because we were all bored to tears.

Jose didn't just park the bus when Chelsea took on hosts Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final, he parked the train, plane and every automobile he could lay his hands on.

Further Reading

Chelsea board backs Jose Mourinho's plan to rest key players for Liverpool clash 

And it worked with Chelsea earning a 0-0 draw, making them slight favourites to complete the job next week at Stamford Bridge and reach the final. Fair play to the Blues.

Sure, we love attractive free flowing football, but there is an art to good defending and we should not forget that, even if Jose does when it suits.

When others 'park the bus' he sees it as bad for the game and an affront to the fans. Yet when he does it, it is tactical genius. He should give it a rest.

Funny, that's what he's proposing several of his senior players have this weekend to keep them fresh for the return leg against Atletico.

With Petr Cech and John Terry already ruled out, Mourinho does not want more influential figures injured before next week.

It would be an understandable call if a Premier League title wasn't at stake.

Chelsea visit Liverpool on Sunday. The Blues are five points behind the rampant Reds in the Premier League table. An away win would greatly benefit Manchester City, who would then have the destiny of the championship in their own hands again, but it would also benefit Chelsea moving them just two points behind the Merseysiders with two games left.

And one of those for Liverpool is a difficult trip to in-form Crystal Palace, who defeated Mourinho's team at Selhurst Park recently.

Of course it is a mighty challenge to win at fortress Anfield, but it is not impossible, should Chelsea play their strongest available side, and think of the confidence it would provide before Atletico arrive in London.

Surely Mourinho can't play 'the kids' as has been suggested. That would effectively be giving up on a race which has not been fully run. In any case giving his star turns a break at Anfield offers no guarantee that they will overcome the Spanish Champions-elect.

Since Mourinho first became Chelsea boss in 2004, Roman Abramovich's club has only failed to collect silverware in two seasons – in 2007-2008 and 2010-11, when incidentally the managers in charge at the end of those campaigns, Avram Grant and Carlo Ancelotti, were both sacked!

With and without Mourinho, Chelsea have become a trophy winning machine.

There are still two up for grabs this season and Jose should be reaching out for both.

The Special One could very easily end up looking like the Stupid One if he puts all his eggs into one basket.

Belfast Telegraph


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