Mourinho is a master of tactics. He is particularly adept at using his post-match press conferences tactically in order to deflect attention from poor performances from his side. He was at it again on Saturday following Chelsea’s lacklustre 2-1 win against Queens Park Rangers.
He admitted that his team “did not play well” but he knew very well that the headlines the next day would focus on his comment that “at this moment it’s difficult for us to play at home, though, because playing here is like playing in an empty stadium.” The fans are a bit too quiet for Jose’s liking and it seems his players are suffering as a result.
“I was today looking around and it was empty, but not in terms of people because it was obviously full. That’s what is frustrating.” The emptiness of the full stadium? How very philosophical Jose, and frustrating. Perhaps Chelsea fans thought QPR stood for Quiet Please, Respect.
It’s a cheap shot though, especially aimed at those paying eye-wateringly expensive ticket prices. Managers are happy to laud the fans as the all-important “twelfth man” when they’re winning but as soon as they start losing or performances falter, number 12 is expected to stay behind for extra choir practice.
The cheapest general sale ticket for the game was apparently almost £50 and if I’d paid that much to witness a less than inspiring performance from my team I would feel quite entitled to sit in sulking silence, contemplating why some players who earn £100,000 per week seem to have difficulty in completing a 10 yard pass.
Recently I wrote about the BBC’s price of football survey and the increasing cost of watching football in the UK. Clubs are discovering that eating your cake is somewhat incompatible with having your cake. Higher prices means more money for clubs but as Chelsea Supporters’ Trust chairman Tim Rolls points out, many “young people – who are the most likely to sing and make noise – have been priced out of the game.”
You see Jose, the voice, just like the legs, starts to go a little bit with age. Typically, Mourinho was in no mood for backing down. He subsequently claimed that “we are the team to get less support in home matches. When compared to my previous time I think it’s getting worse.” Maybe the fans have got older compared to last time; maybe prices have got more expensive.
One fan took to Instagram to suggest that Mourinho’s comments were ‘bang out of order’ and received a sympathetic phone call from John Terry in reply. It was reported that Terry told the supporter that he ‘understood the concerns of supporters – but insisted Mourinho had deliberately spoken to stir the home crowd into more obvious displays of passion.’
In return, Chelsea fans might ask the skipper and the gaffer for some more obvious displays of talent.