David Preece: Is ex-Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho the special one or never-last-more-than-three-seasons-one?

Ex-Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho (cenrtre)
Ex-Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho (cenrtre)
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The trouble with bandwagons is the feeling of temptation you get to hop aboard.

Your conscience reasons with you that if it’s the popular opinion of the majority then it means they all must be right, so why not just go with the flow?

If he truly was the “Special One”, then surely he would have the strength of character to stick it out and bring the club back into contention for the title once again.

David Preece

Well, there’s a danger in that, a danger that comes at the moment you question your own integrity, realising you don’t actually agree with everyone else after all, and you have to alight while the thing is still moving at pace.

To backtrack takes a bit of bravery, along with large gulp of pride, as you take the bumps and bruises that come with going against the grain of common consensus but in the end they are nothing compared with the nagging feeling you weren’t being true to yourself.

I got that feeling this week. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s those people who enjoy watching successful people fail.

What is happening at Stamford Bridge at the moment doesn’t fill me with one bit of pleasure and this isn’t just a Mourinho thing either.

I felt the exact same way when Sir Alex Ferguson’s rare failures were tossed about like a piece of meat amongst a pack of hyenas and I feel the same about Arsene Wenger too.

These greats don’t need me to defend them but when I hear criticism of them, I naturally adopt a defensive attitude and stand in their corner.

There’s a confidence gained from winning that some mistake for arrogance, and some try to beat it out of winners with cynicism and sneers, yet it’s probably more to do with the inferiority and insecurity of others that this perceived arrogance is seen as a flaw.

Winners expect to win, where’s the arrogance in that. Winning isn’t always possible, of course and handling not winning can prove problematic for some.

The likes of Mourinho don’t accept defeats well, simply because he’s not used to it on such a scale.

From the very moment he took over at Porto, with an almost joyous gusto, he has set about rubbing people up the wrong way, sometimes to get a reaction out them, sometimes just for sport. So when he falls, there’s a queue to trample all over him.

There are times when he has deserved to feel the footprints across his back.

The whole Eve Carneiro saga could have been nipped in the bud with a simple apology and a gracious admittance of his heavy-handedness but if he has a fault, his blindspot of his own culpability in any kind of failure is a major one.

Yet, paradoxically, this could also be one of the leading factors in his success.

His unwavering belief in his own methods transfers to his players and they begin to share his winning mentality, they believe they are special too.

As we have all worked out though, the Jose effect is finite and the three year itch is in full swing.

He builds and moulds a team into a mean machine which becomes greater than the sum of it’s parts, before the very same belief that brought them to the top begins to spill over and the machine starts to run as if sand has been thrown into its motor.

Egos swell, those parts that fitted together with such ease, cease to run smoothly and disjointed performances lead to frustrations on all sides spilling over until something eventually gives.

As the man who proclaims to be the reason for the success of his teams, he must also shoulder some of the blame for their downfalls too. But not all the blame, though.

After Monday’s defeat to champions elect, Leicester City, I witnessed a manager who was past making excuses. Excuses for himself, excuses for his players. He may have thrown a cursory hand-grenade when referring to Leicester’s time-wasting but the lack of enthusiasm it was delivered told a story in itself.

For once, there was no bravado, no smokescreen behind which he could hide, just honesty.

Betrayal is a strong word but he had every right to have feel let down by his players.

Regardless of Mourinho’s clunky handling of his players when under pressure, the players have to take their share of responsibility.

All I read after the interview was of Eden Hazard being thrown under the bus by his boss, yet I saw nothing of the sort.

What I did see was a player who fell innocuously and threw the towel in.

I saw a player struggling for form who saw an easy escape route and darted down it like a rabbit into its burrow.

And Jose’s crime? Hanging him out to dry in public for doing so?

I’ve been there in addressing room when it happens and you accept there are times when that is the only thing left to do and this was it.

Footballers are quick to point the finger at someone else for their own, and their collective failures, and that, more than anything, is the biggest problem Chelsea face right now.

Their manager can defend the odd bad result, the odd bad performance but when they have come as consistently as the victories did last season, but not now.

The only man who could replace Mourinho in the long-term is Pep Guardiola but should he come to the Premier League, I can’t see him setting foot in a club anywhere outside of Manchester.

And what’s more, if Mr Abramovic decides to end Joses tenure, he’d end up with another two managers in as many seasons and then come to the decision that the best man to take the club forward would be Mourinho again, so why waste two years waiting for that to happen?

Personally, I want Mourinho to stay in charge to see him work his way out of the unchartered territory he’s now treading.

If he truly was the “Special One”, then surely he would have the strength of character to stick it out and bring the club back into contention for the title once again.

If not, despite his haul of trophies over the last 15 years, he’ll not be remember as much for being the Special One, he’ll be known as the “Brooding, never-lasts-more-than-three-years One”.

And for those paying attention, I did call Leicester City “the champions elect” because I like going against the grain myself and seriously hope they do.

I could go with the belief that they don’t have what it takes to last the course but where’s the fun in that?