“Football, bloody hell”.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s quote when Manchester United won the 1999 Champions League is perhaps the best embodiment of the beautiful game. The fans, players and everyone related with Chelsea Football Club might be going through a bloody hell-ish couple of weeks. As a fan, I certainly can say, it’s been a mixed month for us.
When Demba Ba slid down the centre of the goal to flick the oncoming low drive from * to win Chelsea the quarter-final on away goals, Stamford Bridge faithful didn’t have the slightest clue that Karma was in attendance on that fateful night. As the stadium erupted in joy, along with the millions of others watching on their TV screens, she made mental notes. One year later, the bitch that she is, served it on the platter to Jose Mourinho and millions of Chelsea fans around the world, as cold as it could possibly be. A million hearts were broken.
Twitter exploded, as expected. Chelsea, supposed to be carrying the flag for the most expensive and apparently, the “best league in the world” were dumped out. A myriad of reactions from journalists, rival fans, home fans and almost everyone related to football were on display. Chelsea had been tipped for the quadruple at the start of the season, even, tipped by some to go unbeaten and emulate the great Arsenal side, fondly remembered as “The Invincibles”.
It was a tepid, uninspiring and meek display from the Blues against the Parisians. Not taking any bit of credit away from PSG, who were absolutely brilliant from the whistle go; the performance from the home team was very un-Mourinho-istic. Jamie Carragher, a (okayish, Gary Neville’s way better) pundit on Sky, pointed out, very correctly, Jose’s team were bullied by the 10 men Paris visitors. Given the amount of time that Chelsea were afforded before the game, Chelsea were expected to cruise, more so, after the red card to Zlatan.
Perhaps, Chelsea players were be reeling from the “harder than the Lens game” practice session at Cobham. After the game, many expected Jose to blame the referee once again, protecting his side. His response was one that calmed my bursting nerves and anger. “We win together and we lose together. I played my best team and I lost. They (PSG) deserved to go through. I’ll sit down with my players and analyse this game tomorrow.”
Many Blues’ fans had started venting it out on Twitter regarding Jose’s approach to big games. Many were right. I, myself being a Chelsea fan, was frustrated at our more defensive approach to every big game. It is true that Mourinho likes his teams to be defensively secure before attacking. Nothing wrong with that, in my opinion. But, admittedly, it would be nice to play an attacking brand of football against bigger teams, impose our game on them, even at the cost of a few errors. The Everton game at the start of the season is a very good example to that approach.
However, we must remember, it is all a part of evolving. We’ve got the best manager on the planet and we must trust him. Indeed, we win together, and we lose together.
KEEP THE BLUE FLAG FLYING HIGH, my brothers.