Jose Mourinho was wrong to criticise Chelsea fans

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Chelsea fans pay a fortune to watch their team play every week, yet despite their willingness to spend their hard-earned cash watching the Blues, Jose Mourinho had the audacity to slam them after Saturday's 2-1 win over Queens Park Rangers at Stamford Bridge.

The Portuguese coach, who is routinely praised by the Chelsea supporters, told reporters after the match that playing at the Bridge is tantamount to playing "in an empty stadium".

"Everyone knows how much I feel connected to this club and the fans," he told talkSPORT. "At this moment it's difficult for us to play at home though, because playing here is like playing in an empty stadium."

If Mourinho's intention was to encourage the Chelsea faithful to make more noise in a bid to get the team going then he got it badly wrong on this occasion.

Mourinho's message came across as a whinge, rather than a call to action, and supporters have every right to feel a little irritated by their manager.

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Mourinho's words are unacceptable

It's one thing criticising your players in public, but to blast your fans - the fabric of the club and the people that pay the players' wages - is unacceptable.

If it was any other manager, then the Chelsea fans would have reacted badly. But their love and appreciation for Mourinho shows no bounds. Just imagine, for example, if Rafa Benitez had uttered the same words during his brief spell at Stamford Bridge - he wouldn't have left the club alive.

"At this moment it's difficult for us to play at home though, because playing here is like playing in an empty stadium." - Jose Mourinho.

But Mourinho's point is valid

Mourinho's point, though, is not invalid. At times it does sound like Chelsea are playing in front of an empty stadium, but this is a problem which has affected many top clubs for years now.

As top-level football matches become increasingly expensive to attend, more and more groups of people simply can't afford to go.

Football, historically, is a working class sport - but the working classes are increasingly prohibited from attending matches and lending their passionate support because of the extortionate fees it costs to watch their teams.

Crowds in general less noisy

As a result of the sanitisation of football, crowds have become less atmospheric. It's been the same at Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and other top English clubs.

When these clubs play against teams they're expected to beat without much trouble, the atmosphere can often suffer.

Manchester United have attempted to combat this by introducing a dedicated singing section at Old Trafford - and to an extent it's made a difference.

There were matches at Old Trafford when all you could hear for sustained periods of the match were the away supporters, but now a group of United fans are continuously making noise.

Players must inspire fans, too

There's no doubt the crowd can make a huge difference in matches, but it's just an important that the players and manager combine to entertain and inspire the watching supporters.

Chelsea have been a joy to watch at times this season - and fans should be making the most of it while it lasts - but Mourinho had no right saying what he said after the QPR win.

Whether it makes a difference will be clear when the Blues take on West Brom at Stamford Bridge on November 22.

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Jose Mourinho
Premier League

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