Despite the media’s rampant love-in for Barcelona, which intensified in the UK after the Catalans’ destruction of Arsenal, last night’s Champions League semi final was predictable. Unlike Wenger, Mourinho had the nouse to come up with a sensible gameplan. His players carried it out perfectly, and gave themselves a realistic chance of progressing to the final.
I have acknowledged that Barcelona are a great team – almost certainly Europe’s best – but said after their 6-3 aggregate win over Arsenal that the London club made it too easy for them. Tactically Wenger and his players were naïve and it cost them. In contrast however, Mourinho sat his defence deep, hassled Barcelona all over the pitch and hit Barcelona on the break. It was a textbook European performance and a deserved win.
But if this was classic Mourinho tactically, it was classic Mourinho presentation too. After the game rumours circulated that Mourinho had clashed with Xavi in the tunnel, with the Spaniard complaining that Inter had got lucky to not concede a penalty. Sky reported that Mourinho had instantly responded by reminding the midfielder of Barcelona’s outrageous fortune against Chelsea last year.
Mourinho pointed to Overbo-gate in the press room too, accusing the whinging Barcelona players of having short memories. “It’s a pity” he said. “A year ago Chelsea were crying and Barca were laughing with the referee. They laughed because he denied my Chelsea boys their rightful place”.
Through his cantankerous reference to ‘my Chelsea’ The Special One revealed both a unique brand of arrogance and a lingering warmth for Chelsea that, along with a brilliant victory, recalled older days.
Some Chelsea fans resent bloggers such as myself writing about Jose’s greatness, as if showing any kind of nostalgia for the Mourinho years automatically constitutes not supporting the current team. But there’s nothing wrong with nostalgia; and the reality is Mourinho’s needless departure will continue to haunt Chelsea fans for as long as he remains in the game, or until Ancelotti mirrors his achievements.
Here’s to another Jose win at the Nou Camp.
What do you think about The Special One’s win over Barcelona? Would you take him back at Chelsea, and how does he compare to Ancelotti? Or are you one of those who would rather we try and forget about him? Post a comment…
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