When Chelsea Football Club officially announced Jose Mourinho’s return in June, it was quite safe to say that many Chelsea fans were more than delighted with the announcement. Jose is extremely respected at the club, and was clearly the fans’ most wanted replacement to succeed Rafael Benitez, and was odds on favorite for a long while after his troubles at Real began to surface, and the media began to take hold of him.
When he finally finished the press conference which unveiled him as the new Chelsea manager, some were beginning to have their doubts, such as his personality and the way it has differed from 2004 as well as his managerial flaws. Many speculated that his inability to promote youth players held him back and was a definite cut-back for the Portuguese man. So when the new season began, a few were surprised to find Mourinho unearth the words:
“We have many talented youngsters back from their loan spells, and we plan to use them.”
This was, with much respect, a new step for Mourinho. Bringing in youth players is something new to Jose, and judging by his words, it is certainly a skill he aims to improve on. De Bruyne, Piazon, Lukaku, Wallace, Kalas, Van Aanholt, McEachran, Essien, and Chalobah are all new players brought in from loan spells from leagues throughout the world, and most of them are in Jose’s plans for the season. Chelsea’s smart decision (admittedly employed by AVB) to promote youngsters and invest in them heavily proved to be a fantastic decision, as the potential for all of these players is looking sky high at the moment. Obviously for some, they are not ready and are in desperate need of a loan to a lower league.
Now, we have seen Mourinho use a wide variety of formations over the years, including a 4-3-3 at Porto and carry it over with Chelsea the following season. He used a defensive play style which involved breaking down attacks quickly and using the two play-makers in the center of midfield to carry the ball forward in a slow moving counter-attack that did not commit too much up in front.
This defensive play style that Jose indoctrinated at Chelsea, admittedly, didn’t win over a lot of neutral fans and the words ‘”Boring Football” began to associate with The Blues. However he silenced critics when he began to play attractive football, circulating between a 4-1-2-1-2 and a 4-2-3-1 formation with Inter to outstanding effect, using Eto and Sneijder as fantastic key players that were involved in vital roles.
His team was incredibly flexible, able to commit to a counter attack and build up play, which eventually saw them to a Champions League title and two domestic league trophies. At Real Madrid, his tactical strength began to become predictable in the 2012/2013 season. Sides like Grenada caught out his Real Madrid side, which relied heavily on counter attacking football. Players like Benzema, Ronaldo and Di Maria were among the quickest in the league, and were arguably used to their best potential by being utilized primarily on the counter attack.
This style began to get caught out, sides began to sit back and let Real break them down, something which Real were unable to do effectively. Modric was signed with the aim of improving this build up play, but, by having a quick glance at the La Liga table, even a player of Modric’s talent could not improve Real. So, this left Jose being singled out by the media after reports of a fight in the dressing room began to surface, and so the Madrid board wanted him to leave.
So, this youth system that Mourinho has brought on board must surely mean a lack of signings? Well, you’d be right in that case. Jose has admitted that Rooney is the only striker that they are pursuing, and he is perhaps even their only target. Is this worrying for Chelsea fans? I’ll let you decide, but in my opinion Chelsea will not win the Premier League if we do not complete the signing of a Midfielder such as De Rossi.
Now, looking at how Mourinho’s playing style has somewhat interchanged and rotated over the years, I think it’s safe to say he’ll circulate between a 4-2-3-1 and maybe even a 4-1-2-1-2, using counter attacking football combined with quick tempo, non-committing football.
Mata being the main man slotting in behind the lone striker, using Hazard and De Bruyne/Schurrle as wide men. De Bruyne and Schurrle are two very different players. De Bruyne is all about a key pass and patience, Schurrle on the other hand is used for counter attacking football due to his pace. To me, Schurrle was a tactical signing, if that makes sense.
He offers Chelsea one thing, while De Bruyne offers the opposite even when they play in the exact same position. One thing is clear in this Jose revolution: he’s all about youth and rotation this year, expect a new Chelsea. But is it a Premier League winning Chelsea? We’ll find out; roll on the new season!