Jose Mourinho hasn’t got much right this season, as shown by one win in five, an eight-point August deficit to Premier League leaders Manchester City, 11/2 odds to retain the title and the mound of negative headlines created by his scapegoating of Eva Carneiro and John Terry.
However, one occasion when he made a lot of sense was after the latest setback, Saturday’s 2-1 Stamford Bridge defeat to Crystal Palace, as he not only ruled out panic buying in the final hours of the transfer window, but recognised it as the worst course of action to take.
Asked about the prospect of signings, he said: “I hope not. I don’t like that. I gave my club the report of the season projection on April 24. I don’t think it’s now, on August 29 or 30 to say ‘I want this and that or I want to try this and that’. We have to gel.”
Of course, it is arguable that the Blues already made one reactionary purchase this month in Pedro Rodriguez, and the Spanish wide man was powerless to prevent the loss to Palace, so returning to the market once more would carry a stench of desperation and disorganisation.
Manchester United would be similarly shrewd not to let their 2-1 weekend reverse revise their plans, especially as they have the added reminder of how spectacularly their final high-profile attacking capture last summer flopped in Radamel Falcao.
The calls for a new forward are deafening again following another defeat to Swansea, but it was their first beating in six competitive outings this term and there was just one in which they failed to score. The 20-time champions notched seven times across the previous three.
Overanalysing a bad result against the Welsh side would be particularly unwise given that the Swans have taken points from three of 2014/15’s top four since May alone.
The Reds responded to their February loss at the Liberty Stadium with a six-game Premier League winning streak, which is their joint-longest to date under Louis van Gaal and featured victories over Tottenham, Liverpool and Man City.
While the Dutch tactician refused to rule out further arrivals, he did insist that any incomings will not be a direct consequence of events in South Wales or criticism of Wayne Rooney and the depth of his striking options.
He said in his post-match musings that: “We shall not buy another player that we have not scouted before. We know already in advance what is happening and what is not happening.”
Do you take both managers at their word? The studious bwin.com bookmakers go 7/5 that Chelsea don’t complete a transfer on deadline day and are the same price that Man United are also inactive.