Since his arrival from Porto all those years ago, it is an accepted fact that Jose Mourinho has been one of the Premier League’s finest assets.
His on-field prowess; frustratingly effective ‘park the bus’ tactics; entertaining press conferences and tendency to feud have all contributed to Mourinho’s reputation as a symbol of the modern manager.
However, his recent behaviour has been nothing short of shameful. From the gender discrimination of Eva Carneiro to his blatant reluctance to accept that Chelsea can actually be second best, Mourinho is tarnishing himself with the label of a bitterly sore loser.
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Of course, there is nothing wrong with competitiveness in sport. We can all agree that some of the best managers to have ever graced the game have been sore losers, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger to name just a couple.
Unfortunately, Mourinho does not fall under this category. Not only does he attribute Chelsea losses solely to his team’s poor performance, but also refuses to acknowledge that it is possible that his status as a tactician can be contested.
Ronald Koeman’s Southampton side hurt Chelsea two weeks ago. The already wounded beast was put to the blade as the opposition's pace exploited the frailty of the Blues' ageing back line, a part of the field in which Mourinho has always yielded success.
The 52-year-old's post-match press conferences have started to turn hostile and he has recently found himself defending not only his team, but also his position as manager.
His complete lack of respect for sportsmanship and the spirit of the game are just symptoms of a more pressing issue: He fears failure.
His star players are not firing, the novelty of his charm is starting to evaporate, and his criticism of referees and the passively vicious treatment of his backroom staff in recent weeks have begun to slowly chip away at the Special One’s integrity. The very fact Mourinho has attempted to claim officials want Chelsea to fail is a clear sign of his delusion.
It would seem Mourinho is still stuck in the denial phase of his quagmire. Ultimately, fans are no longer engaged by the Portuguese's antics. His post-match interviews have become serious and stale, and he himself looks as though he has aged severely in the process.
There can be no doubt that Chelsea’s form this season is a major preoccupation, and only time will tell whether Mourinho thrusts himself out of the abyss into glory, or carries on falling.