The main news from this weekend’s press conferences is that this weekly blog may be under threat. I very much doubt Mourinho was referencing me individually but his comments after the defeat to Liverpool questioned the value of post match press conferences. Towards the end of a tetchy, awkward exchange with the BBC, the Chelsea boss asked the interviewer why he needed to hear his comments as surely he was at the game himself and saw what happened? Whatever you think of Mourinho’s childish responses, they could set an interesting precedent. Imagine if we go with his logic and get someone in from the crowd to hold the post match presser. I’d wager that a Chelsea fan’s view of their team’s sixth league defeat of the season would have made for pretty interesting listening.
Flippancy aside, Mourinho’s interviews are striking a similar tone to the scorched earth tactics he deployed during his last days at Real Madrid. In his own words ‘There are some battles you can’t win.’ Now, that could be another not so veiled attack at the FA, with whom he has racked up quite a bill in recent months, or an admission that not everyone is pulling in his direction at Stamford Bridge. The consistent negativity that he seems intent on bringing to the club at every opportunity doesn’t strike me as the actions of a man keen to keep spirits up. In fact, his opponent this week, Jurgen Klopp, showed the other end of the spectrum last season when it comes to dealing with such a run of form. Though visibly tired by the end of his tenure, the German was upbeat and positive in the face of a terrible run of form. The Special One doesn’t seem to be handling his first experience of losing quite so well.
But looking back at Jose’s attack on the post-match interview, unfortunately his disgust was immediately vindicated when Klopp was asked about Liverpool’s title chances following the win. ‘Are you crazy?’ Klopp replied to the reporter. No Jurgen, they’re probably just lazy. Straight from the Geoff Shreeves school of questioning, it seems that many still think one swallow makes a summer. Liverpool are not going to win the title; I’m quite happy to stick my neck out on that. If only certain members of the media departed from their stock list of questions every now and then we might actually get some interesting insight from managers and players every once in a while. Just a thought.
Moving on, the next logical place to stop is with the subject of much of the Special One’s ire, Arsene Wenger. The briefing he gave the media straight after the win over Swansea was a typically assured bit of Wenger. Basically, he said that Arsenal have ‘moved forward’ this season because Swansea took six points off them last season and now they’d beaten them. Fair enough Arsene you’re second in the league, but I don’t think your record against one team can be a bellwether of progress. Unlike those ever so characteristic Champions League defeats against Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos. But just as Wenger tried to convince Arsenal fans that things were indeed different this season, he reverted to type. When quizzed about an alleged Arsenal misdemeanour in the run up to his team’s second goal, guess what – he didn’t see it.
One man who probably wishes he hadn’t seen it is Sam Allardyce. After turning a 2-2 scoreline masterfully into a 6-2 defeat at Everton, Big Sam claimed his charges got ‘carried away’. He’ll be hoping that a few of them are carried away in the transfer window if he is to have any chance of avoiding relegation again.