Sunday, April 27, 2014
You do not have to like Jose Mourinho
What made this post necessary was two sides of a coin. Brendan Rogers is a great manager who I have admired since he played fantastic football at Swansea. That sexy football was transferred to Liverpool, where he made a cheaply assembled team of youngsters to be superstars, to be on the brink of a historic league championship status which I still think they will win. I had Manchester City as my prediction, I hope they do but the Reds have this thing under control despite the hiccup.
All laymen and expects knew what Jose Mourinho would bring to the table when he came to the Kop. Having a dilemma of the UEFA Champions League and the Liverpool tie which had a potential to decide the title destination, the Special One would bring and park the bus. He threatened to make a boring match when he talked of being 'not helped' and 'thinking only for ourselves'. Many did not get what he was trying to say. It is now water under the bridge but BR was supposed to read into that and work at it.
JM is renowned for his tactics, but what does that mean? He studies teams and managers. He had all Liverpool's plans in his palm. This usually works differently in comparison to what I admire BR for. The Liverpool gaffer would rather work on his team and have them do the best at what they are good at. That has lethal effects if implemented successfully, unfortunately, not this time.
What should BR have worked on? That is very easy. How to move a parked bus or crack it open. He was obliged to work o breaking down that Chelsea defence by either playing more in his own half and lure The Blues out of that final third and then send Luis Suarez or Daniel Sturridge on their bikes into the box. Since Sturridge carried a knock, he should have started. Raheem Sterling could have been sent in there to run at defenders with the ball. Rogers prefers to pin Chelsea there and hoped to tear that novice back line to pieces.
The Only One had an ace up his sleeve; not an ace at all if you ask me. He made sure Liverpool chased without success for an early goal. The delaying tactics from the first whistle was to buy as much time as possible as the hosts registered goals in the opening minutes of the games they played in this season. It worked well. The next issue that JM used was the home supporters. He caused them to be anxious and doubt their own players' ability. He caused a 'genocide' tension with good effect..
Chelsea then had that man-barrier that stood there in a very stubborn manner. They took their time to do everything and the referee was not bothered to caution the perpetrators, preferring to do better timekeeping which he did not stick to. As a bonus of shutting Liverpool out, Chelsea scored a goal after an error by the trusted Steven Gerard. JM solidified further the defence to fortify the unlikely three points. As the Reds pushed for an equaliser, a striker in Fernando Torres was introduced to put the final nail on the Liverpool coffin.
Manchester City did themselves a lot of favour as Yaya Toure stole the show on his return from injury with a demolished performance that can be dubbed a one man show. Their victory ensured they travel to Everton hoping for the best in their duel and wishing their victims, Crystal Palace the best at Liverpool. As for Chelsea, they need an answer to more than one prayer. God answers prayers and given He is not red, blue or sky blue, I would guess red distinguishes itself well from the other two colours. If you are religious, you will however admire that the good Lord is very humorous.
It ended up a battle of wits and tactics. Whether one sticks his guns out and polish his team without throwing spanners in the other guy's works or works at the strengths and weaknesses of his opponents, the results will be different on different days. On this occasion, it happened exactly the way Jose wanted. If one does not admire Jose Mourinho, today they did not have reason not to like his work. It was an overall work well done.