“We don’t cry on injuries. It’s our philosophy, we don’t cry.”
Players’ lack of fitness, in Jose Mourinho’s own words, is not sufficient enough an excuse to justify bad results.
Everything else though, it would seem, is fair game.
International call ups, ball boys, supporters, all of these things in addition to many, many others, have conspired against his Chelsea team this season, culminating in their 2-1 loss against the ten men of Newcastle at the weekend.
“Only one team played to win,” Mourinho bemoaned in the post-match interview.
Whether this was designed as a slight or a compliment (after all, if the Magpies managed to beat the division’s strongest side by accident that’s pretty impressive) is unclear, but as the prime exponent of parking the bus, the Portuguese is in a better position than most to judge when one team is playing for a point.
After sampling a taste of his own medicine and detesting it, we’ve rolled out a highlight reel celebrating some of Mourinho’s most pragmatic moments.
Real Madrid 0-2 Barcelona 2010/11 Champions League semi-final first leg
A 5-0 defeat to Los Blaugrana earlier in the campaign meant Mourinho would play with his guard up against Real’s greatest foes every time he would square off with them in the future.
Despite being blessed with a wealth of creative assets, the Special One selected a regular back four with centre-half Raul Albiol as a holding-midfielder alongside deep-lying twosome Sami Khedira and Xabi Alonso for a home match.
This unnecessarily negative strategy backfired when Lionel Messi scored twice after a Pepe red card, effectively sealing Barca’s place in the final.
Liverpool 0-2 Chelsea 2013/14 Premier League
Defeat for the Reds rendered winning the title extremely unlikely, though they’ll consider themselves unfortunate to have lost after allowing the west Londoners just 27 per cent possession at Anfield.
Mourinho’s running down the touchline repeatedly screaming: ‘this is Chelsea’ in celebrating Willian’s injury-time match-settling strike offers an insight into how he’d rather win football matches.
Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea 2013/14 Premier League
Not a single striker was selected for the Blues’ Old Trafford sojourn for the third match of the season as tentative Mourinho assumed the Red Devils would be as potent on their own patch under David Moyes as they were under Sir Alex Ferguson.
He thought wrong and had to settle for a share of the spoils against a team that were beaten eight times in total at home during the campaign.