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16th Aug 2015

Mourinho should be more concerned by on-pitch matters after humbling at the Etihad

Tom Victor

Jose Mourinho has regularly been a master of taking attention away from his players, but there will be nowhere to hide after equalling an unwanted record against Manchester City.

The 3-0 reverse at the Etihad Stadium matched Chelsea’s worst under the Portuguese manager, although Manuel Pellegrini’s City squad is admittedly stronger than the West Brom and Middlesbrough outfits to have beaten the Blues by the same scoreline.

Before the game much of the attention was on Mourinho’s treatment of club medical staff Eva Carneiro and Jon Fearn, and his relationship with the pair allowed some attention to be taken away from the underwhelming 2-2 draw at home to Swansea on the opening day.

But a dismal showing on the pitch ought to demonstrate that Chelsea’s early-season problems go beyond off-field disputes and tabloid soundbites.


The scoreline arguably flattered Chelsea, who struggled to deal with Sergio Aguero on the Argentine’s first start of the campaign.

It took a handful of sharp stops from stand-in goalkeeper Asmir Begovic to limit the Sky Blues to three goals, with John Terry forced off at half-time and Branislav Ivanovic looking particularly shaky.

Perhaps the arrival of left-back Baba Rahman – allowing Cesar Azpilicueta to move over to the right – will be enough to shore up a defence which has shipped five goals in the opening two games.

Chelsea’s back-line had similar struggles for spells last season, but it mattered little when a prolific forward line helped bail them out with results such as the 6-3 win at Everton and 4-2 victory over Swansea.

Against City, however, they didn’t manage a single shot on target until the second half and only mustered three in total, the same number as in this season’s meeting with the Swans.

The story may have been different had Fernandinho been sent off for catching Diego Costa with a flailing arm, but Costa barely threatened, in stark contrast to his explosive start to last season, while attacking substitutes Juan Cuadrado and Radamel Falcao offered little.

It could be time for Mourinho to delve into the transfer market for another option up front, and the one saving grace is the defeat to City has arrived early enough into the season that he still has two weeks to bolster his squad.


After winning the league with such ease in 2014/15, it may have been difficult for Jose Mourinho to gauge which parts of his squad, if any, needed improving.

At least now there is no chance of complacency as he chases back-to-back league titles for the first time since 2010 at Inter.

One thing’s for sure, though – he needs to move on from petty disputes and confront the on-field matters which, if they continue for that bit longer, will leave fans with cause for concern.