I just turned on the Chelsea -Fulham match and the first bit of commentary had to do with the exlcusions of Juan Mata and David Luiz from Chelsea’s 18 man team. The talent of both players is considerable, but I would concede that neither may fit into the tactical set up of Jose Mourinho. This irreconcilable difference need not be the distraction that it is, and speaks to an erosion of the skill amd judgment of my favorite manager.
Despite continued success at Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid and now Chelsea again, there has developed a consistent theme of alienating players. Arjen Robben, Mario Balotelli, Iker Casillas, Kaka and now Matta and Luiz have all fallen out of favor which alone is not a sin, but have remained with the team creating an unnecessary and soul-sucking subplot to collective objectives.
Every coach seeks certain qualities in players that resonate deeply with his view of the game, and every team in the process of becoming such must find a core identity that will not always suit the talents of every player on the roster. This is a natural and necessary process that must be combined with actually removing the ill-fitting players from the newfound equation.
Whether by ego or back room political constraints, Mourinho has been unable to find his way on this point, and it has proven near fatal for a coach that relies so heavily on adherence to tactical nuance and cult of personality espirit de corps.
Mourinho should reflect on his days at Porto and his psuedo-autobiography from that time that spoke of a team so united that it voluntarily took meals together, and in turn provided the triumph that made Mourinho “Special.”