Kevin Moran: I can't believe what is happening at Chelsea
I can’t believe what is happening at Chelsea.
The Premier League champions’awful form continued with a 3-1 home defeat to Liverpool and are in such a state of disarray that the future of their brilliant manager Jose Mourinho is in doubt.
Their Portuguese boss won’t quit – he only leaves clubs when on top, such as Porto and Inter Milan winning the European Cup, or Chelsea and Real Madrid having triumphed domestically.
No, Mourinho will only depart Stamford Bridge if the circus around him becomes all too much for owner Roman Abramovich.
Without a doubt, Mourinho’s first step into the circus ring this season was the totally unnecessary spat with his club’s doctor and physio in August.
No matter what way you look at it, Jose was wrong in his dealings with Dr. Eva Carneiro (right).
Instead of insisting the club put out a statement backing him, Mourinho should have spoken out himself and quickly calmed the waters.
He ought to have admitted that he acted in the heat of the moment and had been wrong and that Carneiro was a valued employee who had his total confidence.
From that early-season row that took the focus off the players and onto off-the-field stuff, it got rapidly worse for Chelsea.
For some reason, top players such as Nemanja Matic, Branislav Ivanovic, Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard were soon only shadows of the forces they were last season.
That’s the real root of Chelsea’s woes this season. Big-game players are not producing the goods.
Despite them playing badly, Mourinho instead pressed the nuclear button by dropping his captain John Terry, a legend at the club and a man Jose himself judged good enough to play every minute of every Premier League game last season.
All this has led to rumours that Mourinho has, in that famous football phrase, ‘lost the dressing-room.’
I disagree and I feel the players who are not playing well are the ones who have to hold their hands up now and and take the blame.
Are Chelsea playing to some great new tactical scheme that the players cannot deal with?
No, they aren’t, certainly not in any way I’ve noticed.
Nor are they a new group for, Pedro apart, these are the same players who won the title last May.
Only goalkeeper Petr Cech has left, and he was not a regular starter on their route to the title.
Maybe the dressing-room needed a bit of freshening up, for the lack of new faces there might be an issue in Chelsea’s current woes
It was always a great Liverpool trait, when they were the real power in English football, that they bought well when on top, adding real quality to their forces and keeping the players they had on their toes.
I wonder did Chelsea simply think that, having been so dominant in 2014/15, that they could do it all again in England without any problem.
Football doesn’t work like that. If you are not improving, you are standing still and thus being passed out by clubs who are on the move.
Now Chelsea’s players and management find themselves in a bad situation.
Their stuttering start to the Premier League campaign means this season’s crown is beyond them already.
I cannot see them making up the amount of points by which they trail Arsenal and the two Manchester clubs.
Perhaps the frustration because of that is behind their disciplinary woes, with such class acts unable to accept that the domestic season is already lost.
Certainly Chelsea are seeing far too many yellow and red cards now for the long-term good of the club.
They might do well enough to finish fourth and so get back into the Champions League next season.
Yet even that is going to be a struggle unless we see sustained improvement in performances from the Chelsea players.
So perhaps Mourinho might save his season by doing the one thing I believe he returned to Chelsea to do – win the Champions League with a third different club.
It narks Mourinho that he didn’t do it during his first spell in charge.
Casually throw in a reference to Luis Garcia’s famous ‘ghost goal’ at Anfield a decade ago and he is almost guaranteed to go off on a rant.
He’s never said it publicly, but it has to bug this proud Portuguese man that his beloved Chelsea won the European Cup in the middle of a six-month interim spell when Roberto Di Matteo was in charge.
Eveyone knew Di Matteo was not going to be a long-term appointment at Stamford Bridge, but the Italian was the man in charge when they finally lifted the cup that had eluded them so painfully, for so long.
Maybe that is what Mourinho will now turn his attention to, starting this Wedneasday with a must-win home game against Dynamo Kiev.
Three points there in mid-week and Chelsea will have a foot in the last 16 for next spring – anything less and this season of troubles will get even worse for the Blues..