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Chelsea may be the worst defending champions in Premier League history. Through 11 games, Chelsea have mustered just 11 points, good enough for 15th place in the table and hardly the start they anticipated. They have already bowed out of the League Cup, and sit in second place in their Champions’ League group, with the knockout stage hardly guaranteed.
Much of the blame for this sputtering start has fallen squarely on the shoulders of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. The often controversial Chelsea boss, who affectionately calls himself “The Special One,” has been decidedly unspecial this season, as he has been unable to get the typical winning results out of his star-studded side.
Many theories exist regarding Chelsea’s fall, each of them more incriminating for Mourinho than the last. The most popular seems to be Chelsea are simply exhausted.
After clinching the Premier League title with a month left in the season last year, Chelsea floundered, losing 3-0 to mid table West Brom, but it didn’t matter as the Blues lifted the trophy on the league’s final day. Mourinho followed up that title campaign with a preseason tour across Asia and the United States, that saw Chelsea get back the latest of any Premier League team. Many fans believe the combination of last year and the preseason wore Chelsea out, leaving them tired coming into the Premier League campaign.
Additionally, many have theorized that Mourinho simply didn’t reload in the offseason, leaving Chelsea without the talent to compete at Europe’s highest levels. Three of Chelsea’s top players last year, John Terry, Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas are nearing the latter portion of their careers, and Morinho simply did not bring in the personnel necessary to replace them. Without a pipeline of talent, Chelsea have struggled.
Regardless of what your personal theory is surrounding Chelsea’s struggles, none of them truly warrant the firing of Mourinho.
Mourinho is a man in a class of his own in European soccer, let alone with Chelsea. His two UEFA Champions’ League championships, eight league championships across Portugal, Spain, Italy, and England, as well as countless other domestic accolades speak for themselves. However, with Chelsea, he has truly accomplished special things.
Mourinho took on a Chelsea club that had recently come into money, and sought its first league title since 1955. Mourinho delivered in spades, bringing the Blues back to back titles in the early 2000s and earning a legendary place at the club. Though he left for failure to succeed in European competition, years of turmoil followed his departure at Chelsea.
Apart from the miracle run to a Champions’ League title produced by Roberto di Mateo in 2011, Chelsea primarily struggled in Mourinho’s absence. Countless managers came through the door, with only one, Carlo Ancelotti, able to recreate Mourinho’s success, and even then it simply didn’t feel as sweet for the Chelsea fans. Thus, his return to the club two years ago was heralded as the homecoming of Chelsea’s prodigal son.
In many ways, Mourinho is Chelsea. He is brash, braggadocios, and downright unapologetic in the face of failure. He emanates class, while simultaneously appearing ruthless and willing to do anything to win. He tows the line between club talisman and Premier League super villain better than any of his counterparts, and the Chelsea fans adore him for it.
If the standing ovation he received in the dying moments of Chelsea’s Champions’ League victory over Dynamo Kiev is any indication, Mourinho belongs at Chelsea. It would be foolish to let a man like that leave.