A tiff, a ban, a rant, a ban, a showdown and a sack – This is roughly the trajectory of Jose Mourinho’s season so far. The ex-Chelsea manager was absolved of his duties on Thursday, days after the defending champions lost 2-1 against current leaders Leicester City.
Chelsea has lost 9 of the 16 games they have played in the English Premier League this season. Placed on the 16th spot, Chelsea is only one point ahead of the relegation zone -- leaving fans and pundits astounded at the manner in which the dominos came tumbling down on the team that had emerged victorious just last year.
It’s been a whirlwind season for the Portuguese manager Mourinho, a dynamic character known for his outbursts, pinching frankness and shrewd comments.
True to his character, Mourinho’s reign was not devoid of drama; with occasional outbursts, missed press conferences and shrewd comments, the Special One courted more than his usual share of controversy this year.
Here’s a peek into the season that has Chelsea fans hoping for a Christmas miracle.
1. The medic controversy
First match into the season and Mourinho was already accused of making discriminatory remarks against the Chelsea female medic Eva Carneiro. The Portuguese had accused the club doctor of “not understanding the game” for attending to Eden Hazard during the match against Swansea City -- which ended in a draw while the Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was already sent off when the incident occurred.
“I was sure that Eden didn’t have a serious problem. He had a knock and was very tired. My medical department left me with eight fit outfield players in a counter attack after a set piece and we were worried we didn’t have enough players left,” said Mourinho.
After the match, Carneiro’s role was scaled down and she eventually left the staff.
2. Bans and fines
Mourinho has never been a poster boy for rules and has left a trail of treading on the wrong side, but his temper -- often directed towards referees -- attracted more than the usual stream of criticism.
He was charged for misconduct and fined 50,000 pounds in October for claiming that referees are “afraid” to award penalties -- unsurprisingly, the incensed Mourinho made those remarks after Chelsea’s 3-1 home loss against Southampton. He had to then sit out of Chelsea’s fixture against Stoke City at Brittannia Stadium. Of course, it still doesn’t end here. Mourinho was handed yet another stadium ban and a 40,000-pound fine for his behaviour with referee John Moss at half time during Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat against West Ham United.
3. Wenger-Mourinho feud
EPL is not well... EPL, without a dash of managerial rivalry. Luckily, Mourinho steps up to retain a semblance of the Ferguson era and doesn’t disappoint either.
After controversially gunning down nine-man Arsenal 2-0 in September this year -- in which Chelsea striker Diego Costa was handed a 3-match ban after the match -- a visibly grumpy Mourinho engaged in a war of words with Wenger and said he believes some managers get preferential treatment by the FA while others like him get punished.
“You know. The one who can speak about the referees before the game, after the game, can push people in the technical area, can moan, can cry in the morning, in the afternoon, and nothing happens. He cannot achieve and keep his job, still be the king. I say just one,” said Mourinho, seemingly referring to Wenger.
4. ‘Betrayed’ by his team
The former Real Madrid manager ruffled a few feathers after Chelsea’s Leicester defeat this Monday by saying that he felt his “work was betrayed ” by his players -- even introducing the mystery of a whodunit.
The comment drew wide speculation and critical analysis of the possible meaning behind it -- with rumours ranging from someone accidentally leaking the line-up before the match and/or Mourinho’s disappointment with the team.
To say Mourinho is no longer the Special One would be unfair to the manager who brought Chelsea into the limelight of global football and continues to garner respect of fans worldwide -- including the club’s. It’s a pity the impatient Russian businessman and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich couldn’t keep the faith anymore.