So here we are once more, eight years down the line. Just as it occurred in 2007, José Mourinho has departed Chelsea mid-season.
Only, instead of his relationship with club owner Roman Abramovich suffering a violent break down, his removal this time has followed an unexpected collapse in his team’s form which has seen the Stamford Bridge club drop to 16th in the Premier League table. The defending champions, who also completed a domestic double last season by winning the League Cup, have recorded their worst start to a campaign since 1978, losing nine of their first sixteen games. Mourinho’s temperament and usually reliable decision making have been doubted unlike any other point in his career.
Jose Mourinho gone but will never be forgotten on these shores. Lead Chelsea to heights never seen at the club…but ended on a sour note.
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) December 17, 2015
Beginning with a frustrating home draw against Swansea City, their title defence was dealt a hammer blow by Manchester City who inflicted a 3-0 defeat on the London team in August. This then triggered a terrible run of form that Chelsea have never recovered from. But while the context for his sacking may come as a surprise to those who watched the Blues walk effortlessly to their fourth Premier League title just seven months ago, Mourinho leaving the club with which he has spent the most time during his career feels like fate. The two-time Champions’ League winner has spent no longer than four years in charge at any of the six clubs he has managed – and with his behaviour under constant scrutiny from the press, a worrying pattern has formed: where Mourinho goes, controversy ultimately follows.
Being generous, Mourinho is a divisive character. His public outbursts are frequent and are often covered extensively; his emotions have been known to boil over into physical incidents, and his alleged behaviour towards former Chelsea club doctor Eva Carneiro in recent months has landed him with a sexual discrimination lawsuit. His actions were commonly considered in previous years to be a calculated tactic to reduce the criticism of his playing staff after a narrow defeat. But now that his team has provided him with several opportunities to practise these methods this season, it seems the myth has drifted out of the open window and left behind the awful truth: Mourinho is simply an unpleasant person.
Eva Carneiro! https://t.co/l5AWttYrRe
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 17, 2015
An undoubtedly magnificent tactician and a specialist at winning trophies, the Portuguese manager boasts an impressive record, but this current rut he finds himself in has the hallmarks of a complete meltdown. Thought his pay-off will be handsome, Mourinho will have to look at himself in the mirror and wonder where he goes from here. His castle has not only had its weak spots identified, it has been completely overrun. Time after time this season his decisions have cost his squad dearly, with the team relying almost entirely on the consistency of Willian to produce goals. It would be foolish to suggest that Mourinho would struggle to find another job – but with his time in England reaching a disastrous end accompanied by a laughter track, it would also be foolish for him to jump straight back on the horse. Time must be taken for him to reflect.
International management is an ocean Mourinho is yet to dip his feet in to, and with many major sides such as Argentina, the Netherlands and his home nation of Portugal underachieving in recent years, a resurgence may be on the cards once the next European Championships are out of the way. But for now he must wave goodbye to the club he clearly holds close to his heart, perhaps with the knowledge that he may never return in an official capacity. Relationships that end in the immediate aftermath of an argument can be patched up once the dust has settled, but this feels different – too much has been dismantled.
— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) December 17, 2015
While Chelsea fans may watch him walk away with a tear in each of their eyes, the rest of the footballing world will be comfortable with storing Mourinho as nothing more than a memory. His aggressive tone lost its comedic effect on his second visit, and many felt that, during his all too public tirades and invention of the “#CampaignAgainstChelsea,” we’d been here before. José is a man that English football has been glad to receive and like many foreign managers who have come to these shores, José has been happy to reciprocate its charms. But in rather catastrophic circumstances, English football has ultimately defeated him: Mourinho has departed from another club under a cloud – and though the circumstances behind this current situation have come as a surprise, it seems it was inevitable from the start.
By Rob Wilson