Jose Mourinho's public criticism won't help 'deep-rooted' Chelsea problems
But they can still make it through to the Champions League semi-finals, says Jeff Stelling
Last Updated: 04/04/14 12:51pm
You've seen all the headlines – Jose Mourinho calling it out the ‘joke’ goal and having a go at his strikers but I think there’s a deeper-rooted problem with Chelsea.
Unfortunately I’m not able to say what that is.
They lose at Villa, they lose at Palace, they lose at PSG and they've only won one of ther last six away games - against bottom-of-the-table Fulham..
From the start of the 2013/14 season a lot of people said Chelsea had the strongest squad and would win the league but I think we’ve seen in the last few weeks that they haven’t got the strongest squad at all.
Mourinho bemoans the lack of a striker and of course Samuel Eto’o was injured - he doesn’t score away from home anyway - but whose fault is it if they’re short of a striker? Why didn’t he go out and do something about it before the season started? They put all their eggs into the Wayne Rooney basket and unfortunately they came away with absolutely nothing and went for Eto’o as a sort of stopgap.
I’m afraid that’s all down to the club and Chelsea fans will rightfully say ‘which strikers were available?’ and yes, of course you have to pay big bucks for the best.
But, just on their on their doorstep was Loic Remy, who would have been an improvement on what they’ve got and ended up going to Newcastle on loan, so could have easily have been prized away for a minimal amount of money from QPR .
On loan Romelu Lukaku has scored more goals than any of the current Chelsea strikers but Mourinho seems to have a blind spot, or stubbornness, that won’t allow him to go back and admit that he was wrong and Lukaku could have made a significant difference. We don’t know if he’s Champions League level because he hasn’t done it before but he’s another one who, the worst they could have done, is have him as a squad member so when times got hard they could have thrown him in.
There were strikers around, they didn’t go in to the market and I think he’s only got himself to blame for that.
The whole side at the moment are making too many blips and you do begin to wonder if they’ll end up empty-handed.
People were throwing the finger at Fernando Torres again last night, but what are Torres and Demba Ba thinking when they’re sitting on the bench with Eto’o injured and Mourinho would rather play a midfielder as a striker instead of them? No wonder Torres looks demoralised and demotivated when he comes on. I didn’t really see it, but I read in the press on Thursday morning that nearly every time Torres got the ball Mourinho would throw his arms up and pull faces!
Look, Torres has had a lot of chances and I’m sure there’s been an arm around the shoulder as well as a kick up the backside but public criticism and exasperation is not going to help him. I don’t think he’s going to go out next game and think, ‘I’m going to pull my guts out for this bloke just to prove him wrong’, I really don’t think that’s going to happen.
I also think the constant rants against the strikers are wrong because the problems are much more deep-rooted than that. If you look at the midfield, Eden Hazard has been great and Willian has been excellent and he was really good again last night at times, but there are big issues; Oscar, blimey, he was terrific in the first part of the season but he has disappeared without a trace, he wasn’t involved at all in the Parc des Princes.
David Luiz is an accident waiting to happen - or three accidents waiting to happen - which we saw again in Paris. He did a lot of good things but they were overshadowed by the fact that he’s always liable to do something dipsy.
It’s hard to judge Frank Lampard because he doesn’t get a regular run in the side and he’ll have been disappointed not to start last night but he’s had this bits-and-pieces type of a season.
But I think there are issues are all over the field; there were mistakes from Petr Cech, mistakes from John Terry and obviously the mistakes from Luiz as well. The whole side at the moment are making too many blips and you do begin to wonder if they’ll end up empty-handed.
It’s misguided to think it was all about the strikers last night because Zlatan Ibrahimovic barely had a kick and Edinson Cavani was awful.
It certainly wasn’t about the forwards; Jose can’t just point the finger at them.
I must add that I don’t think this tie is over. I still think Chelsea have got a chance of going through because PSG have got their vulnerabilities; they gave the ball away time after time in the first half, were often caught in possession and Chelsea looked pretty decent until half-time.
The French side will come to Stamford Bridge in a position they’ve not been in before, favourites to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.
They come with that burden of favouritism and a big European night at Stamford Bridge? We’ve seen Chelsea do it before and it’s possible they’ll do it again, but Mourinho needs his strikers on side and pulling out all the stops for him for that happen.
For me, public criticism is not the way to go.
JEFF'S GEM OF THE WEEK
Portsmouth beat Newport 2-1 in Andy Awford’s first game in charge and that's a man who is Pompey through and through.
The majority of fans would have welcomed his appointment and they needed that win so desperately because, Southampton fans excepted, no one wants to see Portsmouth in the Conference.
It’s a brilliant start for Andy, but while I hope they survive League Two this season, I also hope they don’t add to their points this weekend because they’re at home to Hartlepool!