Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 27th 2013 Contents After a dismal stint at the Spanish capital, Jose Mourinho made a
highly publicised return to manage the club that helped build his repu-
tation as the "Special One".
Last season Real Madrid were beaten by Borussia Dortmund in the
semi-finals of the Champions League, while they finished second in la
Liga, 15 points behind champions Barcelona.
Chelsea have started this season with a disappointing seven days,
which included a shock 2-1 loss at home to Basel in the Champions
League, which followed defeats to Everton and Bayern Munich in the
Premier League and Super Cup respectively.
The Portuguese gaffer was happy to return to winning ways with
the Blues' EPL match against Fulham, with Oscar and John Obi Mikel
scoring in the 2-0 win.
At each club he's managed, Mourinho has somehow been able to
sideline some stellar player---it's almost like the way he enforces his
clubhouse discipline: "Look at what I can do: I can break you or I can let
Look at the players whose careers he's trashed along the way:
Andriy Shevchenko, who came to Stanford Bridge as AC Milan's sec-
ond highest all-time goalscorer.
Adriano, who was a regular goal scorer in the early stages of the
Serie A 2008--09 campaign, reaching a combined total of 100 domestic
goals in the Italian Serie A and the Brazilian Série A. He would leave the
club at the end of the season.
Kaká would next feel the frost of the Mourinho cold shoulder. The
Brazillian had been on the final list of names for every top individual ac-
colade in world and European football, and came off a 16-goal season
for AC Milan before signing a €68.5 million deal to play in Madrid.
Then...in each case, crickets.
Now it's Juan Mata in the back of the freezer---a man who notched
18 goals and 34 assists in 64 appearances in a Blue shirt last term has
lasted no longer than 65 minutes in any of his three outings so far.
The idea that Mata is either an unwilling or incapable team player
makes little sense. This is, by all accounts, a model professional who
trains well, studies for two degrees at the University of Madrid, main-
tains a blog in Spanish and English and practices yoga in his spare time
in a bid to prolong his career. No one has ever described him as stupid
or difficult to manage.
Yet Mourinho says Juan Mata must learn to play how he wants and
become more consistent, if he is to regain his place in the first team.
For all the unanswered questions, Chelsea's last win placed them at
the top of the EPL table. But that's in a week when they played Fulham,
and Manchester had their derby. Taking the lead in a week like that is
like kissing your sister---nobody talks about that and, quite frankly, get-
ting pleasure and boasting about it is a little creepy.
Mourinho said: "After a bad start, a start that everybody kept telling
me is the worst start for about a decade [for Chelsea]...today I looked
at the table, nobody is in front of us.
"The beauty of the Premier League is that everybody loses matches
and everybody drops points. The top six teams have already had a de-
feat, so no dramas.
"I am aware we are not playing very well but we will work, we are
top professionals and everybody is working hard."
Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, is not known for his patience,
and this second time around Mourinho will be expected to add another
Champions League trophy sooner, rather than later. But, despite having
a stellar cast of players at their disposal, the Blues are yet to look either
convincing or capable of doing damage this year, so it looks as though
the Special One's bus is leaving Stamford Bridge station...
14 Friday, September 27, 2013 • Issue 107
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with Dennis Tayé Allen Twitter: @ttgameplan
Last Saturday I took my sons to their first "Inter-
Our team, St Mary's College (they go to school
there and that's my old school) was hosting archri-
vals QRC at home.
It's the first SSFL match I've seen live for quite
some time and I was surprised at some of what was
Back in the day, when I played football (I had a
half season stint between the posts at Under-16 for
the Colts) there were few players either taller than
my 6'0" frame and a few wider than my 156lbs---but
even less were both bigger and heavier than I was.
Last week I saw just about everyone was bigger,
stronger and faster at nearly every position on the
Aside from Crock (Gerard Henry) who was a mas-
sive, well-fed stopper, and Tolo (Rowan Bartolo)
who was tall, fast and one of the most composed de-
fenders to ever wear the plus and white stripes, the
rest of that team were either short or of an average
height nearer to about 5'8" and 150lbs. Kona (Kona
Hislop, whose brother Shaka was the First Eleven
keeper) was solidly built, but not as imposingly
large as some of the players I saw on the field.
But football is a team sport, and while individual
talent is an invaluable asset towards a team's suc-
cess, it's how that team plays together as a unit is
what is going to bring success in the long term.
Now, this is not a knock on either team's manage-
ment, training or coaching staff---this is an open
question to the SSFL in general:
Where is this league headed?
Why is it that; in an era where the athletes are
bigger, faster and have been exposed to more for-
mal training and from a younger age that ever be-
fore, that the quality of football on display is going
Something is missing here.
The teams both looked like they were going
through the motions. Their emotional investment in
the matchplay was nil. A man missed an open
chance? No scene. Smalls. Dah normel, hoss.
Where's the passion?
And that's not just for these teams alone, either---
this is a complaint that is heard from every pundit
watching every zone in the SSFL.
Consider this aspect and you will see where I'm
coming from with this: Are these the players from
which we will put together a run at an Under-17
World Cup? Ok...who? And, more importantly: What
top-rater world youth teams will that team beat?
Spain? Nigeria? Brazil? Mexico?
I love my school football eh, but I'm not satisfied
that this SSFL zonal play is producing the best foot-
ballers or that the current school league structure is
capable of producing the best players. The talent is
there. The coaches are well trained. So what's
wrong---because something is very wrong.
John Obi Mikel scored his first Premier League goal as Chelsea beat Fulham in
the west London derby at Stamford Bridge and won for the first time in a month.
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